Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency treatment.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
- Fatal if treatment delayed
Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke:
- Call 911 for emergency medical care.
- Stay with the worker until emergency medical services arrive.
- Move the worker to a shaded, cool area and remove outer clothing.
- Cool the worker quickly, using the following methods:
- With a cold water or ice bath, if possible
- Wet the skin
- Place cold wet cloths on the skin
- Soak clothing with cool water
- Circulate the air around the worker to speed cooling.
- Place cold wet cloths or ice on the head, neck, armpits, and groin; or soak the clothing with cool water.