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How to handle a heatstroke?

Rafael Acerete Hueso
General medicine consultations, medical certificates, sports check-ups, densitometries' reports
26 Jul 2023
1 Min
The expert's voice

Do you know what to do in the event of a heat stroke? What steps to follow when suspecting heat stroke?

Dr. Acerete, CreuBlanca’s general practitioner, explains in this article and through a short video what heat stroke is, how to identify its symptoms and the steps you must follow to treat it as quickly as possible and avoid serious problems.

What is a heat stroke and why does it appear?

A heat stroke is a syndrome that appears as a consequence of the harmful effects of heat. Special care must be taken with children and the elderly or with a previous pathology, since they are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to suffering a heat stroke. A heat stroke occurs when our body temperature increases rapidly and we cannot lower it, either because it is very hot, because we have made a very intense physical effort or we have not hydrated ourselves enough.

How to act and what steps to follow when suspecting heat stroke?

  • Recognize the symptoms. Symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, confusion, red, hot, and dry skin, rapid, pounding pulse, headaches, and nausea. If someone shows these signs, it’s time to act!
  • Move the person to a cool, shady place. If possible, move the person to a shady area or an area with air conditioning. The sooner you get the person out of the heat, the better.
  • Apply cold compresses. Dip a towel or cloth in cold water and place it on the affected person’s forehead, neck, and armpits. This will help lower body temperature.
  • Offer cool liquids. Give the person cool water to drink, preferably in small sips. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, as they can worsen dehydration.
  • Call emergency services. If the symptoms worsen or the person does not improve after a few minutes, call 911 or 911.
  • Stay with the affected person. While you wait for emergency services, make sure you stay close to the person and provide support. Stay calm and reassure her.


Heat stroke requires emergency treatment. Acting on time is the key, since we reduce the risk of serious complications for our brain, heart, and muscles.