Heat stroke or sunstroke as it is sometimes called, is a serious condition where the body’s heat regulating system fails and the temperature of the body rises dramatically.
Sunstroke can affect anyone, but older people, children, sufferers of other chronic conditions and people who are very physically active are more prone to suffer with sunstroke than others.
Heatstroke can be very serious and medical referral is essential in all cases.
When it’s hot, the body tries to cool itself down through increasing blood flow to the skin, sweating and exhaling hot air, but these systems sometimes fail, and the body overheats. It manifests itself as either heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Overheating of the body can occur due to excessively high outside temperatures, physical exertion, extensive burns, and severe sunburn or because of an undiagnosed medical condition such as an overactive thyroid gland. Heatstroke is often the result of heat exhaustion.
If left untreated these symptoms can develop to heatstroke and these symptoms include:
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion
- Confusion and disorientation
- Visual hallucinations
- Convulsions (uncontrollable muscle twitching)
- Racing, thumping pulse
- Flushed, hot and dry skin
- And a sudden rise in temperature
If the sufferer experiences any of these symptoms, immediate medical attention is required. Heatstroke is a medical emergency as it can prove fatal.
Get professional medical help as quickly as possible.
Move to a cool area as quickly as possible.
Increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan.
Give them water to drink if possible, but do not give medication such as aspirin or paracetamol.
Shower the skin with cool, but not cold, water (15 to 18 degrees C).
Alternatively, cover the body with cool, damp towels or sheets, or immerse in cool water.
Gently massage the skin to encourage circulation.
If convulsions start, move nearby objects out of the way to prevent injury (do not use force or put anything in the mouth).
If the patient is unconscious and vomiting, move them into the recovery position by turning them on their side and making sure their airways are clear.
Medical referral is always essential. Homeopathy is a complementary treatment and should not be used in place of medical treatment.