Section VII. HEATSTROKE
Whereas heat exhaustion may be regarded as the end result of a person's
overactive heat-balance mechanisms that are still functioning, heatstroke results when
the body's thermoregulatory mechanisms are not functional, and the main avenue of
as a medical emergency which can lead to the person's death if the body temperature is
not controlled adequately.
a. Initially, there may be prodromal (indications of the onset of a disease or
morbid state) symptoms of headache, malaise, and excessive warmth, or a general
picture of heat exhaustion. Other signs and symptoms soon occur.
The onset. The onset is usually abrupt with:
(a) Sudden loss of consciousness.
Sweating. Sweating may or may not be absent in the typical case.
(a) Temperature--elevated. Deep body temperature is frequently in
excess of 106F (41C). Rectal temperature exceeding 108F (42C) is not uncommon
and indicates poor prognosis.
Skin--hot, flushed, perhaps dry.
(c) Severe cases--petechiae (pinpoint, nonraised, perfectly round,
purplish-red spots caused by intradermal or submucous hemorrhage) may be present.
(d) Pulse--full and rapid.
(e) Blood pressure--systolic pressure may be normal or elevated. The
diastolic pressure may be markedly depressed (60 mm Hg or lower).
(f) Respirations--rapid and deep, and simulate Kussmaul breathing
(distressing, labored breathing occurring in spasms).