Heat stroke

heat stroke illustration

Heat stroke can be a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical attention if you believe heat stroke is occurring.

Heat illness can progress rapidly, and if precautions are not taken, heat stroke can occur.

Watch out for the following signs of heat stroke:

  • Skin that is red and hot with lack of sweat
  • Small pupils
  • A rapid, weak pulse
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Extreme confusion or irritability
  • Weakness
  • A body temperature above 102 ℉
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Prevent heat stroke

Stay safe when you are in the heat.

  • Stay cool. Take breaks from being in the heat and humidity for long periods of time.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after being in the heat.
  • Stay aware. Know how your body is responding to the heat.
  • Know and understand the earliest forms of heat illness, such as heat cramps, heat rash, and heat exhaustion.

Be prepared for the heat

If you must be in the heat, plan to take breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas. Bring an adequate amount of water. Know the symptoms and signs of when your body needs to cool down. Have a plan if you begin to feel too hot or unusually tired. Children, elderly, and the obese are the most susceptible to heat stroke.

How do you treat heat stroke?

Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect heat stroke is occurring. While awaiting professional care, have the person rest in a cool environment with their legs slightly elevated. Remove or loosen the person’s excess clothing and have them drink an electrolyte beverage such as Gatorade.

Heat stroke treatment focuses on safely lowering an individual’s core body temperature. Emergency department teams may carefully bring down body temperature using a chilled bath or evaporation cooling techniques. They will also monitor heart, lung, and brain activity to address any complications caused by excessive heat.

Illustration of heat illness

Heat illness affects everyone: you, your family, your neighbors, your customers.

PDF iconUse this one-page guide to spread awareness of the dangers of heat illness.

Last reviewed: 
June 2018

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