If you have every had heat stroke or heat exhaustion, take care to not repeat the experience. Based on a study that followed heat stroke patients from the 1995 Chicago heat wave, people who have experienced heat stroke have 28% higher risk of death in the following year.
What to do:
- Limit exposure.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee.
- Eat light meals.
- Douse pulse points with water.
- Wear clothing/fabrics that “breathe.”
- Lower core body temp with a cool bath.
- See a professional to help clear lingering heat using Chinese medicinals and acupuncture.
Heatstroke symptoms include:
High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.
Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
Headache. Your head may throb. ( Mayo Clinic.)
In July 1995, Chicago sustained a heat wave that resulted in more than 600 excess deaths, 3300 excess emergency department visits, and a substantial number of intensive care unit admissions for near-fatal heat stroke.
To describe the clinical features of patients admitted to an intensive care unit with near-fatal classic heat stroke. Patients were followed for 1 year to assess delayed functional outcome and mortality.
Intensive care units in the Chicago area.
58 patients admitted to the hospital from 12 July to 20 July 1995 who met the case definition of classic heat stroke.
The data collection tool was designed to compile demographic and survival data and to permit analysis of organ system function by abstracting data on physical examination findings, electrocardiography and echocardiography results, fluid resuscitation, radiography results, and laboratory findings. Data on functional status at discharge and at 1 year were collected by using a modified Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire.
Patients experienced multiorgan dysfunction with neurologic impairment (100%), moderate to severe renal insufficiency (53%), disseminated intravascular coagulation (45%), and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (10%). Fifty-seven percent of patients had evidence of infection on admission. In-hospital mortality was 21%. Most survivors recovered near-normal renal, hematologic, and respiratory status, but disability persisted, resulting in moderate to severe functional impairment in 33% of patients at hospital discharge. At 1 year, no patient had improved functional status, and an additional 28% of patients had died.
Near-fatal classic heat stroke is associated with multiorgan dysfunction. A high percentage of patients had infection at presentation. A high mortality rate was observed during acute hospitalization and at 1 year. In addition, substantial functional impairment at discharge persisted 1 year. The degree of functional disability correlated highly with survival at 1 year.