What is Heatstroke and how to avoid it

What is Heat Stroke?

Heatstroke, also commonly known as sunstroke or hyperthermia, occurs when a person’s body temperature rises to above 40 degrees Celsius. Most people are not aware heatstroke is actually a life-threatening condition as the high body temperature can cause damage to the organs.


How does someone get heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs when a person is exposed to heat for a long period of time either indoors or outdoors. When the temperature rises, the body has to work extra hard to produce sweat to keep itself cool. It is hard for people to sweat in humid conditions or if the person is dehydrated. People with other health issues such as kidney or heart disease are at a higher risk of developing heatstroke. The elderly and young children are also at a greater risk. 


What are the symptoms of heatstroke?

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or confusion 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Strange behaviour 
  • Dry and swollen tongue 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe thirst
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Hot and dry skin with little or no sweat
  • Rapid rise in body temperature 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech. 


How to avoid heatstroke 

  • Stay indoors or in a shaded area on hot days 
  • Drink plenty of water regularly 
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and activities 
  • Take cool showers or baths if you feel your body temperature rise.


What to do if you think you have heatstroke?

If you begin showing symptoms of heatstroke, there are some steps you can take. Firstly, attempt to lower your body temperature through a cool shower or bath and drink water to hydrate your body. If you require medical assistance, get in contact with your regular GP or home doctor if you require after-hours care. If symptoms are severe you should call an ambulance. 

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