Heat stroke: how to keep a cool head?

The thermometer climbs and, failing to properly evacuate the heat, our internal temperature also increases. Our advice to cool off as soon as possible.

You've made a long hike in the forest or played a game of tennis while it's hot and humid ... Or you stayed too long by the pool without drinking enough ... Result: you feel everything, feeling uncomfortable , headaches. No wonder: a thermometer that displays more than 20 ° C and a humidity above 75%, without wind to cool the atmosphere, can promote heat stroke. The body fails to remove the heat properly to regulate heat exchange and is overheated, with a body temperature exceeding 40 ° C. "Anything that causes dehydration is a risk factor, such as consuming alcohol at the table or making an intense effort," says Dr. Frédéric Adnet, emergency physician. While some symptoms may be common with sunstroke, this is directly related to long exposure to the sun, often with associated sunburn, while heat stroke can occur even if the weather is overcast and that we did not blush.

It is essential to immediately escape the heat, putting in the shade, preferably in a well air conditioned room. And drink a lot to fight against dehydration. If possible, swallow at least one liter of water quickly, then continue to drink regularly in small sips. We then try to lower the body temperature as quickly as possible by controlling it regularly with a thermometer, until it drops below 40 ° C.

Placing directly in front of a fan is not a good idea, as the air can dry out the skin and block perspiration, which allows the heat to escape. The ideal: to lie down and cover the whole body with wet towels or towels, then place a fan where possible or create a draft. However, you should never apply ice directly to the skin to cool, at the risk of burning the skin.

If you are fully aware and the temperature drops quickly (at least 1 ° C after one hour), you can stay at home. But a heat stroke can lead to serious neurological disorders, which can go as far as coma. If the feeling of unease is accompanied by confusion, incoherent speech or agitation, it is better to go to the emergency room. And in case of convulsions or loss of consciousness, you must immediately call the Samu (dial 15).

"Swallowing an antipyretic fever, such as aspirin or paracetamol, to lower the temperature is not recommended, because in heat stroke, there is liver damage associated with dehydration, and these drugs would further attack the liver. lowering the temperature, drinking and cooling the body remain the most effective solution "

Thank you to Professor Frédéric Adnet, head of the emergency department of the University Hospital in Bobigny, co-author of Is there urgency? (Flammarion ed.)

Read also:

Video: Heat Awareness PSA - Symptoms and Tips to Avoid of Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke (November 2019).

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