4 Easy Steps on First Aid for Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion

Have you heard about cases of heat exhaustion that led to heat stroke within your area?

You are surely reading this to know what these heat-related illnesses are, how to spot one, and how to perform first aid.

Well, you are in the right article, and we will show you everything you need to know and more about heat stroke and first aid!

heat stroke symptoms

What Is Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?

Have you heard about cases of heat exhaustion that led to heat stroke within your area?

You are surely reading this to know what these heat-related illnesses are, how to spot one, and how to perform first aid.

Well, you are in the right article, and we will show you everything you need to know and more about heat stroke and first aid!

What Is Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are two heat-related diseases that manifest in a person, with heat cramps and heat syncope as the other ones.

As Johns Hopkins Medicine explains, these are generally caused by a person’s lack of fluid retention and hydration during extreme heat exposure.

Moreover, these heat illnesses have risk factors that can even include death if symptoms have not been swiftly identified and no first aid actions are employed.

Heat exhaustion, on the one hand, is a form of heat illness that is second in line regarding severity.

This happens when your body gradually loses control in lowering your body temperature to the desired level after days of prolonged exposure to heat.

To add to the damage, exhaustion happens when insufficient water or salt is in the body to substitute for sun exposure, especially when a person is excessively sweating.

On the other hand, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), heatstroke is another form that happens when heat exhaustion progresses without any first aid remedy like cold water, a cool fan, or any cool-related soothing aids.

In addition, it rapidly escalates upon exposure to excessive heat from the sun or hot weather. Note that this type of heat-related disease is fatal.

A patient undergoing heatstroke signs must immediately be given medical health care as it quickly turns the core body temperature higher than usual within 10 minutes.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion

To give first aid advice, you primarily need to identify the signs of heat stroke and exhaustion.

You know someone is suffering from heat exhaustion if they’re showing these symptoms:

  • Anxious and nauseous
  • Fatigued and physically weak
  • Pale, moist skin
  • Too much sweating
  • Stomach problems (e.g., diarrhoea)
  • Vomiting
  • Headache and muscle cramps
  • High fever over 100.4° F or 38 °C

When the exhaustion has not been given first aid, it escalates into heatstroke that is characterised by these symptoms:

  • Confused and agitated
  • Extreme fatigue and nausea
  • Too much sweating
  • Headaches and light-headedness
  • Loses appetite and becomes lethargic
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizure or possible coma
  • Feels warm and has dry skin
  • High fever over 100.4° F or 38 °C

How to Perform Heat Stroke First Aid

Identifying one or more symptoms from the mentioned information above should show that first aid is needed for elders, adults, or children.

To properly perform your responsibilities in times that you encounter any life-threatening heatstroke and exhaustion cases, you need to follow these steps to save the lives of patients:

1) Relocate the Patient

You first need to move the patient away from the hot area and relocate them to a cool place with a comprehensive cooling system.

You must also introduce yourself to the patient, where you are affiliated, and what you do (step-by-step), even if they’re unconscious.

Then, let the patient rest and then proceed with the next step.

2) Call 999 or 112

You can simultaneously call 999, 112, or any local medical emergency unit while relocating the patient if you are with another person or group.

In calling 911 or any medical health emergency hotlines, make sure you give the following information:

  • What the emergency is about
  • Where you are currently located (complete address or landmarks)
  • Who you are and the phone number you are using to call

After this necessary information, do not drop the call.

Instead, you can ask for a medical aid guide and specific advice to help the patient while help is yet to arrive.

3) Remove Unnecessary Clothing

The following first aid advice you need to do is to remove the patient’s outer clothing so that the air can circulate well on their bodies. You can also continuously fan the patient.

Then, get a wet sheet with cool water, and damp the wet sheet all over the exposed patient’s skin.

4) Place Ice Packs and Hydrate Patient

Another thing to do while waiting for medical health care to arrive is to place ice packs on the patient’s upper thigh area, neck, and underarms to aid in cooling.

Hydrating the patient with cool water, internally and externally, is also a must. You can do this by:

  • Offering a cool sports drink if the patient is awake and can drink
  • Giving any cool drinks will also suffice, but those with salt and sugar are preferred
  • Spraying the patient with a garden hose (assure the water isn’t hot)

Who Is At Risk for Heat-Related Illnesses?

According to a study done in the UK, a person who is at significant risk of heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, exhaustion, and heatstroke is one of the following:

  • Older adults from 75 years old and above
  • People who take medication that results in excessive sweating
  • A person with medical health conditions or comorbidities (e.g., overweight, high blood pressure)
  • People and children who live in places with continuous hot weather

Nevertheless, healthy people still need to be wary of heat illness as they can still experience it.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Care for Heat Illness

If it has been super hot within your vicinity, and you suspect heatstroke, exhaustion, or cramps among individuals, do not wait too long and immediately call medical help.

You can call 999 for emergency help or your local emergency medical care as part of your first aid plan.

After the medical care takes over, the patient may undergo a treatment plan, including cooling techniques and urine output monitoring.

Final Words

In doing the first aid for patients suffering from heatstroke, the medical advice you need to follow is:

  • Observe if signs and symptoms occur
  • Immediately call for help
  • First aid treatment

Also, never forget to place the patient in cool areas, remove extra clothes for air to circulate on the skin, and hydrate the patient.

Most importantly, you can only save a person from any heat illness or heat injury if you do not panic and remember everything we mentioned in this article!

About us: Skills Training Group offers a range of first aid training courses at our nationwide venues.

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