When to Seek Treatment for Heat Stroke

When to Seek Treatment for Heat Stroke

What is heatstroke?
A heatstroke, also known as sunstroke, is usually caused by a combination of dehydration and prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It is a condition where the body’s ability to cool itself off fails, leading to a rise in core temperature.

It also develops as an advancement of less severe heat-related illnesses such as heat stress and heat exhaustion. However, heatstroke can occur without there being any signs of previous heat-related conditions—it can show up a few days after prolonged high-temperature exposure.

The most important thing to remember about heatstroke is its severity. While heat stress and heat exhaustion can be treated by cooling down, drinking water and resting, heatstroke needs immediate attention and can potentially be life-threatening. Heatstroke is considered a medical emergency that needs healthcare treatment as soon as any signs or symptoms are recognized.

What are heatstroke symptoms? 
Since heat stress and heat exhaustion are similar to heatstroke in causes and symptoms, it’s essential to understand what makes them different. However, diagnosing one or the other can be difficult, which is why it’s always recommended to seek a medical professional who can help determine what type of heat-related illness you or someone you know might have.

All three conditions cause harm and generally involve warm skin, heat rash and muscle spasms, but what differentiates heatstroke from the others is its severe symptoms. These includes disorientation, sluggishness, loss of consciousness and nausea.

One specific and glaringly obvious difference between all three heat conditions is whether or not there is heavy sweating. If you have a heat rash, heat stress or heat exhaustion, the body produces sweat to help alleviate its warm temperature. However, with heatstroke, the body has gotten too hot to regulate itself, and therefore, it stops sweating. As a result, the skin will also be hot to the touch, dry and flushed.
Another way to check someone for heatstroke is to take their temperature. People with heatstroke will have a core temperature above 103-degrees Fahrenheit, while those with heat exhaustion will be below that threshold.

In addition, checking their pulse is another good way to differentiate between the two. Both sicknesses cause rapid heartbeats; however, someone suffering from sunstroke will have a strong pulse, while heat exhaustion results in a weak pulse.

What is the treatment for heatstroke? 
When you recognize heatstroke, seek emergency medical help immediately. The longer someone goes without treatment, the more likely they are to suffer permanent damage or even death.

It would help if you administered first aid while waiting for help to reduce the chances of heatstroke symptoms getting worse. When you or someone is exhibiting signs of the condition, practical actions include:

  • Taking the individual to a shaded, cooler area
  • Remove thick or layered clothing
  • Apply cool water to the skin and fan them to stimulate sweating
  • Put ice packs on the armpits, axilla, neck and groin; these areas have blood vessels close to the skin, and cooling them can reduce body temperature

If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911. 

If you’re experiencing extreme pain or heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately and visit ShorePoint Health ER & Urgent Care.

Our approach makes care more affordable by avoiding the higher cost of the emergency room when patients require only urgent care services. We practice a straightforward premise: deliver quality care while billing for the appropriate level of care. Our teams are empowered to make decisions as if they were caring for a family member. Your care, time, and loyalty are our top priorities.

As one of the only health systems in the Cape Coral area offering emergency and urgent care services under one roof, ShorePoint Health ER & Urgent Care prioritizes providing transparent, affordable pricing and quality care. We only bill based on the level of care you receive, and there are no appointments need for in-person visits. The emergency room is open 24 hours a day, every day, and the urgent care walk-in clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

ShorePoint Health ER & Urgent Care Cape Coral, a department of ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte, is located at 2521 Del Prado Blvd. N., Cape Coral, FL3 33909 and may be reached at 239-356-0740.