Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why do people die from the heat?

Every year you hear about people dying from the heat. It's scary stuff.

Just what do they die of?

Heat stroke is a severe form of heat illness that can be life threatening.

What is heat stroke?
The definition of heat stroke is a fever greater than 106 F with neurological dysfunction.

What causes heat stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when the body is exposed to large amounts of heat and is unable to disappate it adequately. This causes the body temperature to rise and can lead to neurological dysfunction (altered level of consciousness).

Who gets heat stroke?
The people who are at highest risk are the very young, the very old and people who are chronically ill. People who have significant physical exertion in high heat (like marathon runners) can also develop heat stroke.

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?
  • High fever
  • may or may not have sweating
  • altered mental status, confusion
  • fainting
  • abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness
  • fast heart rate
  • neurologic abnormalities- irritibility, difficulty walking, delusions
What do I do if someone I know has heat stroke?

This is an emergency. Call 911. They will require prompt treatment in the emergency department and will likely be admitted to the hospital.

next- how to prevent heat related illness
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