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 Heat Stroke First Aidemergency 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.



John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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