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Definition - What does Heat-Stroke mean?

Heat stroke is the most dangerous form of heat stress. In cases of heat stroke the core body temperature rises to above 105 Fahrenheit. 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 Heat-Stroke

When the body becomes hot owing to exertion or a hot environment, it uses evaporative cooling in the form of sweat to cool itself. In certain workplace conditions, this mechanism may not be sufficient to cool the body. At this time, the core temperature begins to rise and may reach dangerous levels including the point where heat stroke occurs. At such temperatures, the body is no longer able to function properly and central nervous system complications occur. The symptoms of heat stroke include nausea and seizures. In some cases, the affected person may lose consciousness or fall into a coma.

Heat stroke is prevented through engineering controls such as HVAC systems and through the application of work practices, such as work and rest cycles. Workers who are exposed to heat stress should be informed of the dangers of heat stroke and be trained to recognize its early symptoms. Training should include a recommendation that water is consumed regularly.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Raised body temperature (more than 40.6 degree Celsius)
  • Altered mental state (confusion, agitation, slurred and restless speech or coma)
  • Skin condition (generally hot and dry)
  • Heart rate / pulse (weak and rapid, more than 80 per minute)
  • Breathing (fast and shallow, more than 18 per minute)
  • Headache, nausea, or vomiting

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