Heat stroke is an excessive elevation of core body temperature above the normal range due to failure of thermoregulation
Heat stroke can be induced by:
Environmental factors, such as excessive heat absorption, hot and humid climates, excessive physical exertion
Intrinsic factors, such as metabolic reactions, drugs, infection
Heat stroke should be suspected if symptoms do not dissipate when the affected person lies down and rests
Signs of an altered mental state or consciousness, including but not limited to, inability to co-ordinate movement, slurred speech, coma or seizure, in circumstances or settings potentially conducive to hyperthermia.
Consider using any facilities that are on scene (i.e. ice bath if available) to help rapidly cool the patient before transporting to hospital. (Immerse the patient up to their neck in the ice bath for up to 15 minutes).
In the initial stages of heat stroke, CNS dysfunction is observed. These are the first signs of thermoregulatory failure.
Improvements in the patients conscious state is the most promising sign that active cooling is working but may happen slowly.
The very young and very old are more prone to heat induced illness.
Tympanic temperature readings may not provide a true representation of a patient’s core body temperature in heat extremes.
Assess patients left in cars for heat induced illness.
Cardiac dysfunction and tachyarrhythmias generally resolve with cooling.