Heat stroke is a serious medical condition caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It is the most severe form of heat-related illness and occurs when the body is unable to cool itself by sweating. It is most common in hot, humid weather and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
The diagnosis of heat stroke is based on a combination of physical signs and symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, weakness, nausea, headaches, fever, rapid pulse, and rapid breathing. Laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis may include measuring body temperature, electrolytes, and other blood parameters.
Heat stroke must be differentiated from other conditions such as heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat cramps. Heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration and is characterized by fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. Heat syncope is characterized by a sudden feeling of lightheadedness and is usually caused by standing for long periods of time in hot weather. Heat cramps are caused by muscle fatigue and are characterized by cramping and pain in the muscles.
Treatment for heat stroke includes immediate cooling of the body with cool water or ice packs and the administration of intravenous fluids if the patient is severely dehydrated. Oxygen may also be administered if the patient is having difficulty breathing.
With prompt medical care, the prognosis of heat stroke is generally good. However, some patients may experience long-term effects such as organ damage and neurological deficits. It is important to take preventive measures to avoid heat stroke, such as staying hydrated and avoiding prolonged exposure to hot environments.