What are the two types of heat stroke?
Heat stroke occurs from the sudden loss of the body’s ability to control its core temperature. Heat stroke is a medical emergency which first aiders should be able to recognise and summon early advanced medical help.
There are broadly two different types of heat stroke which affect different types of patients.
Classical non-exertional heat stroke
This is often most seen in older people. The most common cause is exposure to high room temperatures in hot summer months (with no air conditioning!).
Exertional heat stroke
Extertional heat stroke occurs due to a combination of high environmental temperatures and physical activity. The body becomes unable to regulate heat control.
This form of heat stroke often affects younger patients, often athletes taking part in endurance events. A major risk factor is humidity, above 75% the body is unable to lose heat by sweating.
Management of heat stroke
As mentioned, heat stroke is a medical emergency which requires early advanced medical help.
A first aider should aim to cool the patient by whatever means is available to them. Cool running water or ice packs placed in the armpits and groins are common methods used.
Do not place ice directly in contact with skin as this could cause burns.