Ref: CHB/HB/57/16                                                                            


What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is an emergency condition where the body's core temperature is markedly elevated after being exposed to high environmental temperatures combined with neurologic symptoms and loss of body thermal auto regulation (ability of the brain to control the body temperature). Heat stroke has also been termed sunstroke and hyperthermia; heat stroke is a medical emergency.
Heat Stroke Causes:
The major cause of heat stroke is prolonged exposure to high temperatures and/or doing strenuous activity in hot weather condition. The body's ability to control the core temperature (sweating, evaporative cooling, for example) is overwhelmed by heat.
Infants, children, pregnant females and the elderly are at higher risk for heat stroke because they are less able to control their core temperature.

Other causes that can contribute to the condition of heat stroke are: 

  • Dehydration
  • Side effects of certain medications (for example, dehydration, increased urination, sweating)
  • Wearing excess and/or tight clothing can contribute to causing heat stroke by inhibiting cooling by evaporation.
  • Sunburn

Another cause of heat stroke that often results in death is leaving a child or pet in a vehicle that is not well ventilated or cooled. The average number of child fatalities due to heatstroke from being left in a car has averaged 37 deaths per year since 1998.

  • About 53% of the children were "forgotten" and left in a vehicle by an adult.
  • About 17% were intentionally left inside by an adult. 
  • The remainders were mainly children that shut themselves in an unattended vehicle.

Immediate treatment of heat stroke is body cooling; currently the preferred method of cooling is evaporation cooling by spraying the patient with cold water or covering them with cold water soaked sheets, and using fans to augment evaporative cooling. Others recommend additional cooling is by placing ice packs on the head, neck, armpits, and groin.
The goal is to reach a core temperature (rectal probe reading with a constant readout) of below 102.2 F or 39 C. The ideal time frame for reaching this temperature is controversial but this should in general be achieved in the fastest possible time frame, ideally over the first 60 minutes.

Heat strokes can be prevented; simple precautions can be very effective. Such precautions include: 

  • Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing 
  • Stay well hydrated; drink Gatorade or similar sports drinks - if you have infrequent urination or the urine is concentrated, you need more fluid intake 
  • Avoid hot sunlight areas and do not sit in a parked car (a common cause of heat stroke in children) 
  • Avoid strenuous activity in the warmest part of the day 
  • If you feel muscle cramps or feel weak, immediately stop the activity and cool down. 
  • Acclimatize if you are traveling or moving to a hot climate by limiting outdoor activities for a few days or more if you have increased risk factors for heat-related illness.


Ref: -

“Community’s health – CHB’s priority”

Please bear with us while the Africa Federation Website undergoes some essential maintenance works.


Join Our Mailing List

The Africa Federation is a member of The World Federation of KSIMC, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations

© Africa Federation | Site By | SiteMap | feed-image RSS