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What is heat stroke and how can I prevent it?

The most advanced stage of heat illness is called heat stroke. In simple terms, heat stroke is a break down of the cooling mechanisms of the body induced by high body temperature. Someone who is experiencing heat stroke may stop sweating altogether and the skin will appear dry and hot. The pulse is usually strong but very rapid. The individual may have labored and difficult breathing. Body temperature can exceed 106oF.


Heat stroke is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention! Transport the individual to the hospital as quickly as possible, ideally in wet sheets. In the meantime, cool the person by any means possible (hose down, ice packs, complete body submersion in cold or icy water). Remove as much clothing as possible and treat for shock by elevating the feet slightly.


Stephen D. Ball, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension








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Last update: Thursday, December 04, 2008



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