Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Even with immediate
treatment, it can be life-threatening or result in serious, long-term
complications. After calling 911 or other
emergency medical services, follow these first aid steps.
Move the person into a cool place, out of
Remove the person's unnecessary clothing, and
place the person on his or her side to expose as much skin surface to the air
Cool the person's entire body by sponging or spraying
cool—not cold—water, and fan the person to lower the body temperature. Watch
for signs of rapidly progressing heatstroke (below).
packs to the groin, neck, and armpits, where large blood vessels lie close to
the skin surface. Do not immerse the person in an ice
Check the person's rectal temperature and try to
reduce it to 102 °F (39 °C) or
lower as soon as possible. The longer the body is at a high temperature, the
more serious the illness and the more likely it is that complications will
develop. Temperatures taken by mouth or in the ear are not accurate in this
If the person is awake and
alert enough to swallow, give the person fluids [32 fl oz (1 L) to
64 fl oz (2 L) over 1 to 2
hours] for hydration. Most people with heatstroke have an altered
level of consciousness and cannot safely be given
fluids to drink. You may have to help. Make sure the person is sitting up
enough so that he or she does not choke.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this