Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heatstroke Overview

What is heatstroke?
A person with heatstroke has a fever over 104 degrees F (40 C) and symptoms of brain malfunction, caused by exposure to a hot environment. A hot environment or intense exercise elevate the body temperature, and the body is unable to release the heat fast enough to keep the body temperature in a normal range. As a result, the body temperature rises so high that the brain malfunctions.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?
Symptoms of heatstroke include fainting, dizziness, dry mouth, excessive thirst, sweating may be absent, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, hallucinations, confusion, and lethargy.

How does the doctor treat heatstroke?
Treatment of heatstroke includes removing clothing, tepid water bathing or sponge bath, cooling blanket, medications to inhibit shivering, cold compresses, encourage oral fluids, intravenous fluids, cardiac monitoring, and resting in a cool environment.

Continue to Heatstroke Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heatstroke References
  1. Booker RJ, Bricknell MC. Heat illness--recent developments. J R Army Med Corps. 2002 Mar;148(1):11-8. [12024885]
  2. Bytomski JR, Squire DL. Heat illness in children. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2003 Dec;2(6):320-4. [14583161]
  3. Coris EE, Ramirez AM, Van Durme DJ. Heat illness in athletes: the dangerous combination of heat, humidity and exercise. Sports Med. 2004;34(1):9-16. [14715036]
  4. Lugo-Amador NM, Rothenhaus T, Moyer P. Heat-related illness. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2004 May;22(2):315-27, viii. [15163570]
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