Warmer weather means it’s essential to take precautions from getting sick. While it’s normal to think of sickness in the form of a virus and bacterial infection, it is possible to come down with unrelated conditions. For example, higher temperatures cause dehydration, leading to heat stress, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.  

Out of the three, heatstroke is the most severe, and it’s essential to pay attention to its signs and symptoms. But most importantly, how do you define heatstroke and what exactly is it? 

Defining heatstroke and how do you get it? 

Heat strokes, also known as sunstrokes, occur as a progression from other heat-related illnesses, such as heat stress or heat exhaustion. Despite this being a common way of developing, heat strokes can strike without any warning.  

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are usually a result of prolonged exposures to high temperatures combined with dehydration. You should be especially wary if high temperatures are accompanied by the relative  humidity of 60% or more, as this hinders sweat evaporation that helps cool off your body. When your body cannot sweat, its temperature rises and increases the risk of serious medical complications. 

Symptoms of heatstroke  

While heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar due to their origin and how they affect the body, there are differences in how severe they are. Therefore, it is essential to know the differences in their symptoms. 

Disorientation, confusion, nausea and possible fainting are  signs of a heat-related illness, though they are not specific to a heatstroke.  

 While heat exhaustion causes the skin to sweat heavily, a heatstroke will instead result in hot, dry, and flushed skin. Heatstrokes can also be identified by taking the temperature of the person who might have the condition. If their temperature is  103 degrees or higher, they’re most likely suffering from heatstroke. 

One crucial component to keep in mind is that if someone is identified to have heat exhaustion, it is essential they drink water, cool down or seek immediate treatment because failing to do so can exacerbate the issue and  develop into heatstroke.   

Best ways to prevent a heatstroke 

If you or your loved ones plan outdoor summer activities, there are ways to prevent suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke: 

  1. Make sure that you  stay hydrated. Your body needs more fluids if you are doing activities in direct heat due to the water you lose through sweating. 
  2. Wearing light, loose clothing also helps keep oneself cool in the heat. 
  3. If you know that you cannot avoid being in the heat during the day, take frequent breaks and find a cool area or shade to rest under.  

Best treatments for sunstrokes?  

If someone you know develops heatstroke, seek emergency medical treatment right away. Call 911 or visit  PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care. 

Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and the longer you wait, the more threatening it becomes. In the meantime, anyone suffering from heatstroke should be resting in a cool area with elevated feet. Ice packs can be applied to areas of the body to help cool the skin and to help stimulate sweating. Do not give them fluids that contain alcohol or caffeine, but let them sip water if they’re capable. 

If you think you have a sunstroke or know someone who has signs or symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you find the best treatment you need. To find a location near you, visit us at PRESNow247.org/locations. 

Unlike most ERs or urgent care centers in the area, PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care in Albuquerque, patients are only billed for the level of services they need. The ER and urgent care are open 24 hours a day, every day. No appointment is required for in-person visits.

PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care has four convenient locations:

  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Paseo/San Pedro is located at 6400 Paseo Del Norte Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113, and may be reached at 505-596-2100.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Coors/Western Trail is located at 4515 Coors Blvd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87120, and may be reached at 505-596-2200.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Isleta/Rio Bravo is located at 3436 Isleta Blvd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105, and may be reached at 505-596-2300.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Menaul/Pennsylvania is located at 7400 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, and may be reached at 505-596-2400.