Home treatment isn't sufficient for heatstroke. If you have signs or symptoms of heatstroke, seek emergency medical help. Others should take steps to cool you off while waiting for emergency help to arrive.
If you notice signs of heat-related illness, lower your body temperature and prevent your condition from progressing to heatstroke. In a lesser heat emergency, such as heat cramps or heat exhaustion, the following steps may lower your body temperature:
July 12, 2014
- Get to a shady or air-conditioned place. If you don't have air conditioning at home, go someplace with air conditioning, such as the mall, movie theater or public library.
- Cool off with damp sheets and a fan. If you're with someone who's experiencing heat-related symptoms, cool the person by covering him or her with damp sheets or by spraying with cool water. Direct air onto the person with a fan.
- Take a cool shower or bath. If you're outdoors and not near shelter, soaking in a cool pond or stream can help bring your temperature down.
- Rehydrate. Drink plenty of fluids. Also, because you lose salt through sweating, you can replenish salt and water with some sports drinks. If your doctor has restricted your fluid or salt intake, check with him or her to see how much you should drink and whether you should replace salt.
- Don't drink sugary or alcoholic beverages to rehydrate. These drinks may interfere with your body's ability to control your temperature. Also, very cold drinks can cause stomach cramps.
- 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.