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How do you treat a heat stroke victim?

Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. First and foremost, cool the victim.

  • Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example, you may spray the person with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under the armpits and groin.
  • If the person is able to drink liquids, have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.
  • Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101 to 102 F (38.3 to 38.8 C).
  • Always notify emergency services (911) immediately. If their arrival is delayed, they can give you further instructions for treatment of the victim.
Return to Heat Stroke

See what others are saying

Comment from: Sgt. Stacey, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

In February/March 1990, at age 23, I suffered heat stroke while in Honduras working in construction. I became so ill after my work shift and supper, with extreme headache, nausea, and muscle cramps that the only way to keep from vomiting was to lay still in my cot, hoping I'd feel better if I just 'rested'. After 3 plus hours, a coworker stopped by my tent, and I began to vomit violently as soon as I sat up! He had to help me to the medical tent, where I was immediately put on 2 IVs, one in each arm, until I looked and felt like a puffer fish! I was required to be on light duty for the remaining 2 weeks of the trip and have had significant heat intolerance in the 25 years ever since, despite being raised in the desert.

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