How to Treat Heat Stroke, and Why Dehydration Matters
As temperatures rise to concerning levels each year, and heat stroke-related deaths are expected to increase roughly 2.5 times the current numbers each year by the 2050s, knowing how to treat heat stroke and why it happens is critical.
Recognizing its symptoms, identifying risk factors, and taking steps to prevent heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses can save your life or the life of someone you know.
Before we proceed, a quick but important note: Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from heat stroke, call your local medical emergency provider right away.
With that said, keep reading to find out how dehydration and heat stroke connect and how you can manage dehydration through oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS. You'll also learn first-aid basics on how to treat heat stroke.
What Causes Heat Strokes
Heat stroke is one of many heat-related illnesses that vary in intensity. As the most serious in the spectrum of conditions brought about by heat stress, anyone experiencing heat stroke requires medical attention. The condition can result in brain damage, severe lifelong complications, and even death.
This hyperthermia disorder is characterized by a rectal temperature of 105°F or greater, accompanied by symptoms that can indicate damage to multiple body organs and the central nervous system.
Heat rashes and sunburn are the mildest conditions in the spectrum, followed by heat cramps and heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke can result from a rise in body temperature from intense sports or physical activities in hot, humid weather (this is also known as exertional heat stroke)
Normally, the body cools itself by sweating and evaporating heat through the skin. However, with a heat stroke, the body’s cooling system has a hard time keeping up with the rise in core body temperature.
As a result, heat can build up to dangerous levels in the body, leading to the following heat stroke symptoms:
Headache and dizziness
Seizures, convulsions, or coma
Flushed, unusually warm, and dry skin
Agitation, confusion, and hallucinations
Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater or sudden rise in body temperature
Dry, swollen tongue
Fatigue or feelings of sluggishness
Rapid heartbeat and pulse rate
Fainting (often an early sign in the elderly with heat stroke)
People suffering from heat stroke will also show signs and symptoms of dehydration. DripDrop ORS is a proven alternative for managing mild to moderate dehydration. It’s powerful enough to use in extreme circumstances but safe enough for everyday use.
Heat stroke may be worsened by:
Wearing extra layers of clothing. It prevents your body from effectively cooling down, as it prevents sweat from evaporating.
Finally, groups at risk for heat stroke are:
Young children because their body surface area makes up a more significant proportion of their overall body weight than adults. Generally, children have lower sweating rates than adults and it typically takes more time for their bodies to get used to a hot environment. They also rely more on dissipating dry heat from their bodies than evaporative loss of heat as a way to cool down.
People over the age of 60 and those with medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. There is a greater risk of heat stroke in this group due to their bodies’ inability to adapt to changes in body temperature.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Dehydration and heat stroke are closely linked. In cases of heat stroke, dehydration happens when you're overexposed to the sun and not replacing fluids and electrolytes quickly enough. Your body ends up depleted of water and essential electrolytes.
As your body overheats, it needs to work extra hard to cool you down through sweat production. You can help your body cool down fast by hydrating yourself quickly with more fluids and electrolytes. As you sweat, electrolytes are pushed to the surface of your skin, helping produce a cooling effect.
Dehydration can also result from chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and certain medications like diuretics.
Water alone is not enough to manage dehydration. When you're dehydrated, your body needs to activate the sodium-glucose cotransport system to hydrate. The right sodium-glucose ratio activates the cotransport system in the small intestine. This system draws molecules of glucose and sodium, as well as attracting water, into your bloodstream.
How do you get this system to work? You need a precise ratio of sodium electrolytes and glucose in your oral rehydration solution.
Unlike sports drinks and other oral rehydration solutions that don't have the proper balance of electrolytes that you need for dehydration relief, DripDrop ORS contains the medically relevant sodium electrolyte levels and lower glucose content required in a low osmolarity formula that facilitates fast absorption.
Plus, it tastes great with a variety of hot and cold flavors to choose from. It also supplies minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.
How to Treat Heat Stroke Symptoms
If you notice that someone has collapsed outdoors and showing signs of heat stroke, call emergency services immediately. The more heat stroke treatment is delayed, the higher the risk of serious complications or death.
While waiting for help to arrive, cool the person’s body as quickly as possible. The following first aid measures, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic, will come in handy:
Move the person out of the heat to a shaded, cool place if it’s safe to do so.
Apply ice packs and cold towels to pulse points like armpits, neck, wrists, and the groin. The large blood vessels in these body parts can cool the body faster than placing ice elsewhere on the body.
Cover them with cool, damp towels or blankets.
When a person is able to drink, you can offer cool water.
If the person is unconscious:
Monitor their pulse rate.
Check if the airway is clear.
Begin CPR when the person shows no signs of movement or breathing.
Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives.
Intravenous (IV) fluids are often given for fluid or electrolyte loss at the hospital.
Doctors will also monitor for symptoms associated with multiple organ damage. Bed rest is typically recommended, and body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for weeks following a heat stroke episode.
How to Cool Your Core Body Temperature and Prevent Heat Stroke
In hot weather, consider taking the following precautions to avoid heat stroke:
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and most of all, sunscreen.
Acclimatize your body to rising temperatures. Engage in activities outside for shortened periods and increase the length of time you spend outdoors gradually.
As you experience warmer temperatures, sip DripDrop ORS throughout the day to help replenish fluids and electrolytes as you sweat.
Schedule sports and other vigorous physical activities during cooler times of the day.
Take frequent breaks when you're outside for prolonged periods.
During hot, humid days, seek air conditioning environments. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that daily exposure to a few hours of air conditioning is the best line of defense against heat-related illnesses like heat stroke.
Never leave young children, seniors, and pets in closed vehicles on warm or sunny days.
If you live in an area with hot, humid weather and have a chronic medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can protect yourself against heat stroke.
Manage Dehydration With DripDrop ORS
Ultimately, one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself or someone you love against heat stroke is to look out for the initial symptoms of heat exhaustion (which can progress to heat stroke) and prevent dehydration as much as possible.
For a start, drink plenty of water and fluids with sodium electrolytes. Carry a water bottle and individual powder packets of DripDrop ORS, especially when you know you’ll be outdoors during high temperatures. It is more effective than water in preventing dehydration, and it comes in a variety of flavors, including Watermelon, Fruit Punch, Orange, and Berry.
DripDrop ORS is a fast, low-cost, effective alternative to IV therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate dehydration. When it comes to dehydration relief, DripDrop ORS is in a category of its own. Built on 50 years of ORS science, our patented, doctor-developed formula is designed for unparalleled speed and amazing flavor.
DripDrop ORS contains the medically relevant sodium electrolyte levels and lower glucose content required to defeat dehydration.
Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. If you’re ready to make a purchase, and you’re a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15.