Exposure to heat is increasing due to climate change, and this trend is set to continue with extreme temperature events increasing in frequency and duration.

Extended periods of day and nighttime temperatures create physiological stress on the human body which exacerbates the top causes of death, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.


According to Mayo Clinic, the definition of heatstroke is, “a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher”.

A person cools himself under a mist machine during a heatwave in Athens, Greece, July 22, 2023.

Full screen

A person cools himself under a mist machine during a heatwave in Athens, Greece, July 22, 2023.LOUIZA VRADIREUTERS

Does heatstroke require treatment?

Heatstroke requires emergency treatment and untreated heatstroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing the risk of serious complications or death.

Heatstroke symptoms

  • High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke
  • Change in behavior or mental state. Agitation, slurred speech, confusion, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke
  • Sweating. Skin will feel hot and dry to the touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing. Breathing can become rapid and shallow
  • Racing heart rate. Heat stress places burden on heart to help cool body

When to seek medical help

If a person is experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number.

Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.

  • Get person indoors or into shade
  • Remove excess clothing
  • Cool the person with whatever means available, a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, place ice packs or wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.

Source link