How to deal with heatstroke

Fact Checked

Heatstroke is a severe condition caused by overheating of the body. Heatstroke is the outcome of a prolonged physical activity that raises the temperature of the body above 104 degrees F. Remember that heatstroke needs medical help. If not treated, it can result to damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.

Symptoms of heatstroke

  • Body temperature of 104 degrees F or even higher
  • The skin feels hot and dry when touched. If due to strenuous exercises, the skin feels moist.
  • Changes in the mental state or behavior such as confusion, agitation, irritability, slurred speech, delirium, coma and seizures.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Flushed skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing becomes rapid and shallow
  • Throbbing headache


  • Heatstroke can be caused by exposure to hot environments. This form of heatstroke usually happens after prolonged exposure to hot and humid weather such as 2-3 days and usually common among older adults with chronic diseases.
  • Increase in the body temperature due to intense physical activity under hot weather.
  • Drinking alcohol can affect the ability of the body to regulate the temperature.
  • Dehydration especially if not drinking enough water to restore the lost fluid due to sweating.
  • Wearing layers of clothing that prevents the sweat from evaporating and cooling the body.


  • Move the affected person out of the sun and into an air-conditioned room to allow him/her to cool down. Remove unnecessary clothing that the person is wearing. If an air-conditioned room is not available, fan air the person.
  • Cover the body of the person with a damp sheet or spray cool water. Cover the body from neck up to the toes with a damp sheet. If a sheet is not available, fill a water spray with cool water and spray water.
  • Apply an ice pack on the body. Place it under the armpits, on the groin, back and neck since these areas have abundant blood vessels that are close to the skin. Applying an ice pack to these areas allows fast cooling down of the body. If ice is not available, a bag of frozen vegetables such as peas can be used.
  • Let the person sit under a cold shower. If outdoors and there is no bathroom available, a lake, pond or stream and cold water from a hose can be used.
  • Rehydrate the person by giving him/her fluids such as sports drinks. This will ensure that dehydration will not further progress.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional