Heat Stroke Symptoms
Signs of Sun Stroke

Treating heat stroke symptoms. Recognizing the symptoms and most common signs of heat strokes and the difference between it and heat exhaustion. Tips for preventing sun stroke.


Children Playing in the Spray of an Open Fire Hydrant to Escape the Ongoing Heat Wave

Children Playing in the Spray of an Open Fire Hydrant to Escape the Ongoing Heat Wave
Peter Stackpole
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What is a Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke (sometimes called sun stroke) is the term used to describe a dangerously elevated body temperature. Any time your body temp rises to 104 degrees F. (40 degrees C.) or higher, you are in danger of suffering a serious medical emergency.

The reason for the rise in body temperature does not matter.

When your body temperature is elevated due to dehydration or overexertion in hot weather, it is called heat stroke or sun stroke (as opposed to fever).

The scientific name for heat stroke is hyperthermia.


Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke symptoms can mimic heart attack symptoms. The most common signs of heat stroke include:

  • Very high body temperature.
  • Your skin feels hot and red but you are not sweating.
  • Your heart is beating faster than normal.
  • You feel like you can't catch your breath.
  • You feel confused, disoriented or agitated


Heat Exhaustion - Heat Stroke
What's the Difference?

Heat exhaustion is a mild form of heat stroke and is less dangerous. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Feeling dizzy, weak or unusually tired.
  • Headache or muscle cramps.

If you have been in an uncomfortably hot environment and begin to experience any of these symptoms, take action immediately. Do not wait until more serious symptoms arise.

Complications of Heat Stroke:

People suffering from sun stroke or heat stroke can have a seizure or go into a coma if they do not cool down quickly enough. If the signs are not recognized and treated in time, you can die from heat stroke.

Some people do not first experience heat exhaustion symptoms before the more dangerous heat stroke symptoms. Sunstroke symptoms can come on very suddenly. They can also be delayed. You may not notice symptoms until after you have come in from the heat.


Treating Heat Stroke

The single most important treatment for heat stroke symptoms is to cool the body down.

  1. Move the victim immediately into an air conditioned area, if possible. Otherwise, get them out of the sun, fan them and use cool water to bring their body temp down. A gentle spray from a garden hose (Test the water on yourself first. A garden hose left laying in the sun will spray hot water for a few seconds.) or a cool sponge bath should be started right away while you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
  2. If the victim is able, have them sip water or any other cool beverage except coffee or tea.
  3. Call 911.
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How to Prevent Heat Stroke
Heat Stroke Safety Tips

It is much easier to prevent a heat stroke than to treat one. You just have to remember that heat stress is the cause of heat stroke. Proper heat stress management is the key to avoiding heat stroke.

Maintain proper hydration at all times.

Dehydration and heat stroke go hand-in-hand.

The better hydrated you are before being exposed to high temperatures, the less likely you are to become dangerously dehydrated while the heat is on.

Many people suffer from mild dehydration all the time without being aware of it.

This is easy to avoid. Just make sure you drink enough non-caffeinated beverages every day. 8-12 8 ounce cups should do the trick.

Do not overexert yourself when outside in the sun on a hot day.

Do not spend too long in a hot building. Heat stress is cumulative. If you work in the heat all day, your body needs to cool for several hours in order to recover from that stress. Sleep in an air conditioned room.

Don't forget about your elderly relatives and neighbors. They are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke. Most heat stroke related deaths occur in this segment of the population. Watch any seniors you love closely for heat stroke symptoms.

After Effects & Results of Heat Stroke

The importance of preventing heat stroke becomes most apparent when you understand how heat heat stroke affects you on an ongoing basis.

Once heat stroke symptoms manifest, your health may not return to normal for several weeks or months. You may suffer long-lasting heat stroke after effects even if you receive prompt medical treatment.

Some people become much more sensitive to heat than they were before.

You may be much more likely to suffer from heat stroke again in the future.

Many people have a bad headache after heat stroke which lasts for days. Mental confusion, tiredness, nausea and just generally feeling lousy are all possible long-term effects of heat stroke.


Sunstroke Cure

There is no quick heat stroke cure. Heat stress and heat stroke recovery takes time.

Keep yourself hydrated and stay out of the heat while you are healing from heat stroke. Most people recover in a few days or weeks.



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