Heat stroke: Know the warning signs

Heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires urgent care. By knowing the symptoms, you can take action quickly if you or someone else is experiencing the signs. Without treatment, heat stroke can lead to long-term complications and loss of life, so don’t delay seeking emergency care if you notice these symptoms.

Hot, red skin
People with heat stroke typically have skin that feels hot to the touch and may look red. It usually is not sweaty but rather feels dry or only moderately damp. This is because of the extreme levels of dehydration experienced during heat stroke.

The feeling of the skin is often a telltale sign that someone is experiencing heat stroke rather than heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion causes cool, clammy skin.

Loss of consciousness
Loss of consciousness is a serious symptom that occurs with heat stroke. If someone loses consciousness, after calling 911, attempt to move him or her to a cooler place, if possible.

It can also be helpful to cool a person down using cool cloths or a cool bath. You should always avoid giving anything to drink to a person who may be suffering from heat stroke, but it’s crucial in the case of loss of consciousness. Even if the person wakes up, do not allow him or her to drink anything.

Strong, fast pulse
During heat stroke, blood pressure drops due to dehydration. In response, the heart beats faster and stronger in an attempt to compensate for the low blood pressure. This is particularly dangerous for people with pre-existing heart conditions.

This is another way in which heat stroke differs from heat exhaustion. The heart rate is fast but the pulse is weak with heat exhaustion.

When temperatures spike, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center provides emergency care in Las Vegas around the clock for you and your family. To learn more about our emergency services or to request a physician referral , dial (702) 233-5300.

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