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How do I care for someone suffering from heat stroke?

Brett Snodgrass
Oncology Nursing

If someone is suffering from heat stroke, immediately assist them to a shaded area. If available get them indoors. Call "911" for assistance, and then remove heavy clothing from the person. If there is a hose, lightly spray the person to cool them. Cool rags can be helpful as well. If they are alert, have them drink fluids (preferably water or Gatorade). Never try and force a person who is unconscious, to drink!  Ice pack to the armpits and groin area is also helpful to decrease the body temperature. Stay with the person until EMS arrives.

There are two ways to cool the body.
  • The preferred method is to rapidly cool the body by immersing the person up to the neck in cold water, if possible.
If not possible, then:
  • Douse or spray the person with cold water.
  • Sponge the person with ice water-doused towels over the entire body, frequently rotating the cold, wet towels.
  • Cover with bags of ice.
  • If you are not able to measure and monitor the person’s temperature, apply rapid cooling methods for 20 minutes or until the person’s condition improves.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.