What to do in case of heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a disorder caused by the increase in body temperature as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures or physical exertion, usually intense and in hot places. In this context, the human body has difficulty properly regulating its own temperature. It is a serious ailment because the body temperature can exceed 40 °C and requires urgent medical attention.

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Heat stroke causes an increase in body temperature

Heat stroke causes an increase in body temperature

When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature rises and it is difficult to regulate it. Untreated heat stroke can damage vital organs like the brain and lead to more serious complications or even death. Anyone can experience heat stroke. It is common that it occurs if you stay for too long in places with high temperatures, are exposed to very intense sun for hours or do physical exercise in a very hot environment. It is important to know the most common symptoms to detect heat stroke quickly and seek medical help.

main symptoms

from heat stroke


Body temperature rise that can reach or even exceed 40 ° C


Red, hot, dry skin or profuse sweating


Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea


Altered mental status such as confusion and delusions


very high heart rate


Fast breathing




Fainting and seizures


Coma, in extreme cases

As it is a serious health problem, emergency services must be contacted urgently so that the affected person can receive medical attention as soon as possible. In the meantime, we must put the person in the coolest place possible, if it can be in a semi-sitting position to promote breathing, and try to lower the body temperature.

A shower is a great help to lower body temperature

A shower is a great help to lower body temperature

How to lower body temperature

There are various methods to lower the body temperature. The simplest thing is to remove excess clothing, fan and wet the person with cold water ─ either directly or with a cloth or sponge ─ on the forehead, neck and neck. We can also put it in the bathtub or under the shower with fresh water so that the temperature drops faster. It is important to have the person drink small sips of water frequently to avoid dehydration. If the person does not recover, worsens or loses consciousness, they should lie down with their legs bent while waiting for help.

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PortalCLÍNIC is a project of the Hospital Clínic and the BBVA Foundation. The information in the article has been prepared in collaboration with PortalClínic, of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and documented by health professionals.

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