Heatstroke can follow on from prolonged heat exhaustion caused by the body’s response to the loss of water and body salts through excessive sweating. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s core temperature rises above 38 degrees C. If this problem is not treated quickly then Heat Stroke can quickly follow.
Heat Stroke is a very dangerous condition, as the temperature control mechanism in the brain (called the hypothalamus) fails. As a result, the person stops sweating and their body is not able to cool down anymore and the body’s core temperature can rise to dangerously levels of over 40C within 10 to 15 minutes.
Knowing how to deal with heatstroke is important because it can come on suddenly with little or no warning. It can cause the casualty to fall unconscious within minutes. The main priority is to cool them down rapidly and get them to hospital.
How to recognise heatstroke?
The key things to look for in heatstroke as signs of the brain overheating are:
Restlessness, Dizziness, Confusion, Fainting.
Flushed, Hot Dry Skin (not sweating).
Possibility of seizures.
Deterioration in response leading to unconsciousness.
What should you do?
Move them out of the sun into a cool place.
Call 999 / 112 for an ambulance.
Remove the outer layer of their clothing while maintaining their dignity.
Wrap them in a cold wet sheet and continue pouring cold water onto it until their temperature drops. If you can’t find a sheet, then use a wet sponge or fan.
Spray them with cool water from a garden hose.
Once their temperature has dropped to normal levels, replace the wet sheet with a dry sheet until help arrives.
Remember…. Try to stay calm and don’t delay the treatment. Call 999/112 for emergency help.