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Definition - What does Heatstroke mean?

Heatstroke also known as sun stroke, is a hyper-thermia that dramatically raises the body temperature of the patient above 40 degree Celsius. It is a medical emergency and sometimes fatal if not treated immediately. Medical care of a qualified medical professional is needed if it is suspected that the patient is suffering from heat stroke. Direct cooling the patient could also be tricky and life threatening. Children, elderly people, sportsmen and outdoor workers are particularly at higher risk of heatstroke.

Safeopedia explains Heatstroke

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Raised body temperature - more than 40.6 degree Celsius.
  • Altered mental state - confusion, agitation, slurredand restless speech or coma.
  • Skin condition - generally hot and dry, but if brought from the playground, it may be little moist. Color of the skin may turn to red.
  • Heart rate (pulse) - weak and rapid (more than 80 per minute)
  • Breathing - fast and shallow (more than 18 per minute)
  • Feelings by patient - headache, nausea, vomiting

Following are the preventive measures against heat stroke:

  • Staying out of the sun, walking in the shade, using umbrella or wearing a headgear
  • Avoiding extreme physical exertion in hot and humid environment
  • Drinking plenty of water and cold drinks
  • Eating foods with a high water content
  • Taking a cool shower, bath or body wash by sprinkling water
  • Remaining in cool environment

First aid and treatment of heat stroke are the following:

  • Bringing the patient in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area
  • Sprinkling water or sponging with wet towel at ambient temperature to cool down his/her body
  • Providing drinking water or juice to the patient
  • Removing any tight or unnecessary clothing

Children and aged people who are suffering from heart, lung or kidney diseases, obesity, underweight, hypertension, respiratory disease, diabetes, mental illness, alcoholism, sunburn, pregnancy and any conditions that cause fever are to be taken special care and must seek for immediate medical services.

This definition was written in the context of Environmental, Health, and Safety

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