First-aid measures for heatstroke

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are both caused by excessive heat but their symptoms are in such direct contrast that mistaken diagnosis is not unlikely. Heatstroke or malfunction of the heatcontrol centres in the body, occurs less frequently than heat exhaustion and is a more serious condition that commonly affects elderly people. The main symptom is a very high temperature, which at 40°C (104 0F) or above that puts the patient in danger.

The symptoms of heatstroke are hot and flushed skin, absence of perspiration, strong drumming pulse, laboured breathing, dilated pupils and very high temperature. The affected person feels dizzy and may lose consciousness.





MEASURES FOR HEATSTROKE
First-aid measures for heatstroke differ from those applied in heat exhaustion. A victim of heatstroke is in imminent danger of serious brian damage and must be cooled urgently. Such a person needs to be stripped, Sprayed with cold water and fanned. If the victim is unconscious, the airway must be cleared and pulse must be checked. The patient’s temperature must be checked constantly to avoid over-cooling. The victim must then be taken to a cool spot, preferably indoors and placed at rest with him/her head elevated. The heatstroke victim must be taken to hospital immediately.

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