Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention of Heat Stroke

Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention of Heat Stroke

May 01, 2021

Your body has the capabilities to regulate its internal temperature. When the internal heat rises, your body may cool itself down by sweating or radiating the skin’s heat. However, exposing your body to too much heat without taking in enough fluids may cause dehydration. This may cause failure to the body’s cooling processes allowing heat to accumulate to dangerous levels.

Extreme heat in your body or prolonged exposure to high temperatures causes heatstroke.

Untreated heatstroke may damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and muscles.

Causes of Heat Stroke

Heatstroke mainly occurs due to exposure to high temperatures. When your body becomes dehydrated, it may not sweat enough to regulate its temperature. This may cause your internal temperature to rise to dangerously high levels. Below are the causes of heatstroke:

Exertional heat stroke

This occurs when your body is intensively active in a got environment. Exertional heat stroke typically affects young people who are least concerned about the effects of heat on their bodies.

Non-exertional heat stroke

This occurs when your body has a diminished ability to control its temperature. This tends to affect older people, infants, or people with chronic illnesses.

Other causes of heat stroke include:

  • Wearing excess clothing in hot environments
  • Dehydration due to lack of enough water to recharge fluids lost through sweating
  • Obesity, which causes your body to produce more heat and reducing the body’s ability to regulate its temperature
  • Being confined in a poorly ventilated living space
  • Being unfamiliar with heat, such as relocating from cool areas to warmer areas
  • Use of drugs like heroin and cocaine
  • Having a history of heatstroke

Regardless of your age, anyone can develop heatstroke. Below are factors that may increase your risk of heatstroke:


Depending on the firmness of your central nervous system, your body has the ability to manage extreme heat. In children, the central nervous system may not be fully developed. In older adults, the central nervous system starts to deteriorate. This makes their body less cope with temperature changes

Sudden exposure to hot weather

You can get a heat stroke if your body is exposed to a sudden hotter environment

Certain medication

Some medication may narrow your blood vessels or block adrenaline influencing your body’s ability to respond to heat.

Certain health condition

Chronic illnesses like lung or heart disease may increase your risk of heat stroke

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Seek immediate attention at our ER for heat stroke if the following symptoms are experienced:

  • High body temperature – The main symptom of heatstroke is a body temperature of 104 F or higher.
  • Altered mental state – Heatstroke may cause confusion, irritability, seizures, or a slurred speech.
  • Rapid heartbeat – Heat stress causes strain to your heart in cooling your body
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Headache

Heat Stroke Treatment

Our emergency room in Baytown will examine your body to determine the possible causes of the high temperature. Your doctor may also perform tests to monitor how well your body organs are functioning.

If you suspect a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical attention at Altus Emergency Center Baytown. Take prompt action to cool the overheated person and consider emergency first aid for heatstroke:

  • Get the person to a cool place such as a shade or indoors
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Fan the person’s entire body to ensure cooling
  • Apply ice packs on the person’s neck, armpits, and groin

How to Prevent Heat Stroke?

Below are steps to prevent heatstroke:

  • Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids prevents dehydration, maintaining a normal body temperature

  • Wear lightweight clothing

Loose-fitting clothing improves your body’s ability to sweat and cool down during hot temperatures

  • Don’t consume alcohol in excess

Alcohol may affect your body’s ability to regulate its temperature

  • Never leave anyone in a parked car

When parked outside, cars may quickly heat up to high temperatures. Any person left in a parked car may be at risk of suffering a heat stroke

  • Get acclimated

Cut down working or exercising in hot temperatures until you are customed to it

  • Wear sunscreen

Sunscreen offers protection to the skin against the harmful rays from the sun

  • Be cautious

If you have an increased risk of heat stroke, avoid hot environments. Seek immediate response if you experience the symptoms of heatstroke.

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