When Heatstroke Hits

When Heatstroke Hits
Heatstroke... an extremely dangerous medical condition.

Summertime and sunshine are two of South African’s favourite things. However, too much heat can be very dangerous to your health.

One of the dangers is that you can get heatstroke. This is an extremely dangerous medical condition.

Dr Avron Urison
Dr Avron Urison - Head of HealthCare
9 December 2019 | 2 minute read
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What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke, also known as sunstroke, is what happens to your body when you have been exposed to very high temperatures, from the sun.

It often happens when you have not drunk enough water, and therefore have become dehydrated.   

Heatstroke can cause damage to your organs such as your brain, heart and kidney, as well as your muscles. Heatstroke can have very serious consequences, including even leading to death.

What causes heatstroke?

Heatstroke is caused when you have been in very hot weather, often for a long time. 

It will often occur if you have been exercising or working very hard outside, or if you have not been drinking enough water while out in the heat.

It can also occur if you are inside but in a building that does not have enough air moving around, windows or air conditioning.

If you drink alcohol, this can affect how your body is able to control its temperature, possibly leading to heatstroke.

Although anyone can get heatstroke, children and older people are particularly at risk.

Certain health conditions such as having diabetes, can also make you more at risk of getting heatstroke.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke? 

The main symptom is a very high body temperature – usually 40 degrees Celsius or higher.

The person with heatstroke might also show the following signs of being ill:

  • Fainting
  • Confusion or slurring when talking
  • Skin might become very red and flushed, hot and dry
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A very fast heart rate
  • Headache 

How must heatstroke be treated?

  • If you suspect you or someone else might have heatstroke, you must immediately go to a doctor and get professional medical help.
  • Heatstroke requires emergency help so you must make sure you get this help as quickly as possible.
  • Try and keep the person as cool as possible until the doctor sees them.
  • Take then inside or into the shade.
  • Place them in a cool bath or shower if you can; otherwise place wet towels on them. However, placing them in an ice bath can be dangerous, so do not do this.
  • Remove all extra clothing off their body.

How can heatstroke be prevented?

  • Make sure you protect against sunburn.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Don’t work in the heat without protection.
  • Never leave anyone in a parked car, as this leaves them at serious risk of getting heatstroke.

With Legal&Tax you’re not alone

Remember Legal&Tax Services is your cool companion in keeping healthy and happy. Find out more about our HealthCare Plan with services like a telephonic nurse on call and emergency medical response and transport

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