What is the prognosis for Heat Stroke?

  • Heat stroke is a condition where the body's cooling mechanisms are overcome by heat resulting in a high core heat usually above 104 F or 40 C in adults, and 105 F or 40.5 C in children; and accompanied by mental status changes; heat stoke is a medical emergency.
  • Heat stroke is caused by a failure of the body's cooling mechanisms (sweating and/or evaporative cooling, for example) when exposed to heat.
  • Heat stroke symptoms are mainly increased body core temperature (see above) and mental status changes.
  • Heat stroke is diagnosed by the history, physical exam, and measurement of body core temperature.
  • Treatment of heat stroke is immediate cooling of the body by
    • placing the person in shade or an air conditioned room, and by covering the person with cool evaporative mists or wet sheets with fans next to the person to increase evaporative cooling;
    • placing ice packs to the groin, armpits, neck, and head have also been recommended.
  • Recovery time for heat stroke is variable; initial recovery may be done with 1-2 days in the hospital; complete recovery may take about 2 months to a year.
  • Complications of heat stroke increase the longer it takes to begin treatment; complications can include
    • internal organ damage,
    • seizures,
    • coma,
    • fetal harm or death in pregnant women, and
    • death of the person.
  • Heat stroke can be prevented by
    • drinking fluids,
    • limiting exposure to heat,
    • wearing clothing that allows evaporative cooling, and
    • recognizing the early warning signs of heat cramps and heat exhaustion and responding to those symptoms with treatment (cooling).
  • Do not leave infants, children, or pets in vehicles, and do not leave vehicles unlocked so children can get in them unattended to prevent deaths from heat stroke.

Source: http://www.emedicinehealth.com