Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own
temperature, and body temperature continues to rise.
Symptoms of heatstroke
Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds.
Confusion, severe restlessness, or anxiety.
Symptoms of moderate to severe difficulty breathing.
Fast heart rate.
Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped.
that may be red, hot, and dry, even in the armpits.
Classic heatstroke can develop without exertion when a person is
exposed to a hot environment and the body is unable to cool itself effectively.
In this type of heatstroke, the body's ability to sweat and transfer the heat
to the environment is reduced. A person with heatstroke may stop sweating.
Classic heatstroke may develop over several days. Babies, older adults, and
people with chronic health problems have the greatest risk of this type of
Exertional heatstroke may develop when a person is working or
exercising in a hot environment. A person with heatstroke from exertion may
sweat profusely, but the body still produces more heat than it can lose. This
causes the body's temperature to rise to high levels.
Both types of heatstroke cause severe dehydration and can cause
body organs to stop functioning. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency, requiring emergency medical
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine