What is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a condition when the heat regulating mechanism of the body breaks-down. Sunstroke is a form of heatstroke caused by exposure to the sun for a long time. The very young and very old people are mostly at risk from heatstroke because their body-temperature regulating mechanisms are not very efficient. There are several other factors responsible for heatstroke. People who are unused to heat, overweight, heavy drinkers or are suffering from fever may be at a greater risk.

There are three basic signs of heatstroke — very high body temperature (more than 41°C), total absence of sweating, and nervous system problems (like disturbances of mood, disorientation and headache), which may even cause loss of consciousness. Fully developed heatstroke is an extremely dangerous condition and over 20% of sufferers may die even with treatment. Those who do recover may have persistent trouble in the nervous system and may take months to get back to normal.

The immediate treatment of heatstroke is to cool the patient by putting him in a bath of cold water. But the most simple and effective way to fight sunstroke is to ensure that the body is not overheated.