Essential First Aid: Treating Heat Stroke

Essential First Aid: Treating Heat Stroke

Jenny Brannan
Posted by Jenny Brannan

Date: Thursday, 27 July 2017. -  
Blog, First Aid, First Aid Emergencies

When you’re on holiday, it’s easy to stay out in the sun for extended periods of time, especially if you’re British! We don’t see the sun that often and when we’re on holiday, we want to make the most of it. 

Everyone’s aim who goes on holiday is to come back with a tan, but aiming for this can come with consequences such as sun burn, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.

Heat stroke happens more often than you think for holiday goers, but if it happened to you or one of your family members, would you know how to treat it? In this blog, we highlight all the heat stroke tell-tale signs and how to effectively treat it.

What is Heat Stroke?

When someone gets too dehydrated they can stop sweating, meaning the body does not have the fluids available to cool itself down – ultimately leading to heat stroke.

Exposing yourself to high temperatures for extended periods of time can cause the body to become dangerously overheated; heat stroke can also develop after suffering from heat exhaustion.

The six symptoms of heatstroke are you should look out for, are: 

  • Headaches, dizziness and discomfort
  • Confusion and restlessness
  • Hot and flushed, dry skin
  • Deteriorating response level
  • Bounding pulse
  • Body temperature higher than 40°C

Treatment Required

Heatstroke can develop rapidly and usually with very little warning. If someone is suffering from an advanced case of heat stroke, it is a priority to cool them down and get them to hospital as quickly as possible.

Firstly, you should remove them from the heat and remove any excess clothing from the person. You should then call 999/112 and request an ambulance for the person. Whilst doing this, or shortly after you should begin the cooling process to help get their temperature down to a safer degree.

The person should be wrapped in a cool, wet sheet and water should be continually poured over it. You should keep doing this until their temperature falls to at least 38°C. You can measure their temperature by using a thermometer and placing it under their armpit or under their tongue.

If there is no sheet available for you to wrap around the person suffering from heatstroke, you should fan them or keep sponging them to keep them cool. Once their temperature has returned to a normal temperature, you should keep a check on their breathing, pulse and level of responsiveness. If they begin to heat up again, you should repeat the cooling process.

If the patient loses responsiveness, their airway needs to be opened and you should treat them as an unresponsive casualty.

Sun Yourself Up, Safely

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the sun whilst you’re on holiday; however, it does pay to be mindful about how much sun you enjoy as the heat from the sun could lead you to heat stroke.

Do you know someone that’s going away? Help us raise awareness of heatstroke and share this article on social media!