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10 Common Symptoms of Heatstroke


Heatstroke is when your body overheats, usually due to extended exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. So, it typically occurs during summer months. If your body temperature climbs to 104 F (40 C) degrees or higher, you are suffering from heatstroke. You need to seek emergency treatment.

When left untreated and the longer you wait, heatstroke can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs and tissues. Heatstroke can lead to serious complications or even death.

Symptom 1: Red Skin

Is your skin red? Flush? Warm or hot to the touch?

A basic sunburn also makes your skin red and hot. However, it becomes serious and dangerous if your body temperature remains higher than 105 F degrees.

Symptom 2: Dizziness

Do you feel lightheaded or dizzy? Especially when you move or stand up?

According to a New York Times article, “After a long run on a hot humid day in Alabama years ago I had effects not quite as severe as described in the article – weakness, nausea, light-headedness, but no passing out or coma. However, I had recurring dizzy spells that lasted for several years afterwards.”

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Symptom 3: Headache

Do you have a severe, heat-induced headache? Is it a throbbing and pounding pain?

A headache can be a symptom of heatstroke.

Symptom 4: Cramps

Do you have muscle cramps? Are they painful? Do they occur during or after exercise, when working in a hot environment, or hours later? Do you have involuntarily muscle spasms or jerks? 

Heatstroke can cause you to have cramps, especially in your hands, calves, thighs, shoulders, or feet.

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Symptom 5: Nausea

Do you feel sick? Are you nauseated? Need to vomit?

Heatstroke can cause nausea and vomiting.

Symptom 6: High Body Temperature

Is your body temperature 104 F (40 C) degrees or higher? A high body temperature is the main symptom associated with heatstroke.

When exposed to high heat, damage to your body can occur. For example, you are at risk of complications with your central nervous system. 

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Symptom 7: Confusion/Delirium

Are you feeling confused? Delirious? Are you just really out of it? Heatstroke can change your mental state and be life-threatening.

Before it is too late, and you are unable to think clearly, go indoors immediately.

Symptom 8: Agitation/Irritability

Are you agitated? Irritable?

Heatstroke can change your behavior.

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Symptom 9: Seizures/Coma

Did you have a seizure? Are you in a coma?

Eventually, so much distress can make you lie down, become lethargic, and slip into a coma. With heatstroke, it may take a while to regain consciousness.

Symptom 10: Slurred Speech

Is your speech slurred? Unable to communicate with others because they cannot understand what you are trying to say?

Heatstroke can affect your speech.

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