Treatment

Heatstroke treatment centers on cooling your body to a normal temperature to prevent or reduce damage to your brain and vital organs. To do this, your doctor may take these steps:

  • Immerse you in cold water. A bath of cold or ice water has been proved to be the most effective way of quickly lowering your core body temperature. The quicker you can receive cold water immersion, the less risk of death and organ damage.
  • Use evaporation cooling techniques. If cold water immersion is unavailable, health care workers may try to lower your body temperature using an evaporation method. Cool water is misted on your body while warm air is fanned over you, causing the water to evaporate and cool your skin.
  • Pack you with ice and cooling blankets. Another method is to wrap you in a special cooling blanket and apply ice packs to your groin, neck, back and armpits to lower your temperature.
  • Give you medications to stop your shivering. If treatments to lower your body temperature make you shiver, your doctor may give you a muscle relaxant, such as a benzodiazepine. Shivering increases your body temperature, making treatment less effective.
Aug. 15, 2017
References
  1. Heat stress-heat related illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatrelillness.html. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  2. Extreme heat. Ready Campaign. https://www.ready.gov/heat. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  3. O'Connor FG, et al. Exertional heat illness in adolescents and adults: Epidemiology, thermoregulation, risk factors, and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  4. Mechem CC. Severe nonexertional hyperthermia (classic heat stroke) in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  5. Extreme heat: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.html. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  6. Ferri FF. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 15, 2017.
  7. Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 19, 2017.