Heatstroke can occur as a result of:
- Exposure to a hot environment. In a type of heatstroke, called nonexertional or classic heatstroke, being in a hot environment leads to a rise in body temperature. This type of heatstroke typically occurs after exposure to hot, humid weather, especially for prolonged periods, such as two or three days. It occurs most often in older adults and in people with chronic illness.
- Strenuous activity. Exertional heatstroke is caused by an increase in body temperature brought on by intense physical activity in hot weather. Anyone exercising or working in hot weather can get exertional heatstroke, but it's most likely to occur if you're not used to high temperatures.
In either type of heatstroke, your condition can be brought on by:
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- Wearing excess clothing that prevents sweat from evaporating easily and cooling your body
- Drinking alcohol, which can affect your body's ability to regulate your temperature
- Becoming dehydrated by not drinking enough water to replenish fluids lost through sweating
- Extreme heat: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Heatstroke. The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/heat_illness/heatstroke.html?qt=heatstroke&alt=sh. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/newsroom/2012/06/hyperthermia-too-hot-your-health. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- O'Connor FG, et al. Exertional heat illness in adolescents and adults: Epidemiology, thermoregulation, risk factors and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- O'Connor FG, et al. Exertional heat illness in adolescents and adults: Management and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Mecham CC. Severe nonexertional hyperthermia (classic heat stroke) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.