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Heatstroke: Emergency Symptoms

Topic Overview

Signs of rapidly progressing heatstroke include:

  • Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds.
  • Convulsion (seizure).
  • Signs of moderate to severe difficulty breathing.
  • A rectal temperature over 104°F (40°C) after exposure to a hot environment.
  • Confusion, severe restlessness, or anxiety.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped.
  • Skin that may be red, hot, and dry, even in the armpits.
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea.

After calling 911 or other emergency services, begin emergency first aid treatment if emergency medical personnel (such as paramedics) are not going to arrive soon.

Credits

Current as of

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

Related Information

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Lipman GS, et al. (2013). Wilderness Medical Society practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of heat-related illness. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 24(4): 351–361.

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