What are signs of heat stroke?

Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin that can be either dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures.

Brett Snodgrass
Oncology Nursing Specialist

Signs of heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, decreased sweating, reddened face, increase heart rate, decreased blood pressure, temperature greater than 104 degrees, mental status change, lethargy, fatigue and confusion. If not treated, it can quickly lead to seizures, organ failure and death.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

There are a couple of stages the body goes through that can give you early warning signs of heat stroke. Being able to recognize these so that you can cool down in time can keep you from getting into trouble.

  • Heat cramps: These muscle cramps can be an early sign of overheating. You may also feel tired and thirsty. If you experience these signs, take a break to cool down. An electrolyte-replenishing drink can help your body recover.
  • Heat exhaustion: If you miss these signs and stay in the heat, you might progress to heat exhaustion. You’ll have all the early signs of heat cramps plus other more serious symptoms. You may start to feel dizzy or faint, nauseous and have a headache. Your skin may feel strangely cool and you may have goose bumps. If you notice these signs, get into the shade, rest and get something to drink, preferably with electrolytes. If these symptoms don’t go away in an hour, you should see a doctor.
  • Heat stroke: The final and most dangerous stage. Your body is running out of water and can’t control its temperature anymore. You’ll likely stop sweating altogether and, along with the previous symptoms, you may start vomiting; have red, flushed skin; feel your heart racing and breathe rapidly. You may be confused and eventually pass out. This is an emergency. If this is happening to you or someone you’re with, get them into the shade and call 911. Do anything you can to cool them down, including putting them in a cool bath, wrapping them in a cool cloth and giving them cool fluids (but no alcohol) to drink.

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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.