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Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 41°C or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature
  • Fatal if treatment delayed
First Aid Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke:
  • Call 911 for emergency medical care.
  • Stay with the worker until emergency medical services arrive.
  • Move the worker to a shaded, cool area and remove outer clothing.
  • Cool the worker quickly with cold water or ice bath if possible; wet the skin, place cold wet cloths on the skin, or soak clothing with cool water.
  • Circulate the air around the worker to speed cooling.
  • Place cold wet cloths or ice on head, neck, armpits, and groin; or soak the clothing with cool water.
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