April 18, 2010

Heatstroke/Sunstroke - Part 3

Part 3 - Symptoms

Symptoms of sunstroke/heatstroke can occur suddenly. Once your body loses its ability to regulate heat, body temperature can rise quickly. Symptoms of sunstroke include sudden headache, dizziness, weakness, or fainting. Because your body's thermostat is malfunctioning, you will only sweat a little bit or not at all. The skin is hot and dry. Body temperature can rise to 102°F (38.9°C) or higher. In severe cases, repeated vomiting and coma can occur.

Risk Factors

Young children and the elderly are at an increased risk for heatstroke and sunstroke. Young children who rely on others to modify their environments, for example, to remove extra blankets or heavy clothing, may be sensitive to rising temperatures. Elderly adults are less sensitive to changes in temperature, so their thermostats work less efficiently. People with excess body fat are also more likely to retain heat.

Conditions or medications that cause dehydration can increase your risk for sunstroke Skin disorders such as scleroderma can interfere with your ability to sweat. Dehydrating medications; for example, the diuretics furosemide (Lasix) or hydrochlorothiaszide (Esidrix) make less water available in the body for sweat, thereby crippling your body's cooling system.

What are heat stroke symptoms?

Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion before progressing to heat strokes.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.

However, some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. However, common symptoms and signs of heat/sun stroke include: high body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and coma. In the more severe cases, heatstroke can even cause organ dysfunction, brain damage, and death.

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