First aid tips for heatstroke
People could die of heatstroke.
If you have been in a high temperature and humid environment for a long time, you are likely to suffer from heatstroke. It's important to rest when the following symptoms appear.
People with premonitory heatstroke may show symptoms such as thirst, loss of appetite, a headache, dizziness, sweating, fatigue, and weakness. However, these symptoms may be easily neglected due to lack of specificity.
Mild heatstroke may induce nausea, vomiting, palpitations, a dry red or pale face, an inability to focus, uncoordinated movements, and elevated body temperature.
Severe heatstroke is divided into three types: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and thermoplegia.
Heat cramps, manifesting primarily as muscle cramps, is perhaps associated with severe sodium loss (profuse sweating and increased intake of hypotonic fluids such as plain water) and hyperventilation.
Thermoplegia is the most severe type of heatstroke, with a mortality rate of 60 percent. Symptoms include high fever (rectal temperature ≥41 degrees Celsius), dry skin (it can be moist in the early stage), confusion, convulsions, or even unresponsiveness, peripheral circulatory failure or shock.
Exertional heatstroke patients are more prone to rhabdomyolysis, acute renal failure, liver failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation or multiple organ failure, and have a higher mortality rate.
Onsite first aid tips for heatstroke
The first step is to get out of the immediate environment. Once you find yourself or someone else suffering from heatstroke, call the "120" emergency number, and carry out onsite first aid within your ability.
Transfer the patient to a cool and ventilated place, and remove the patient's clothing as soon as possible. If conditions permit, the patient can be transferred to an air-conditioned room, with an indoor temperature of 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. Let the patient lie down, and raise his or her lower limbs by 15-30 cm.
Take a quick measurement of the patient's body temperature, preferably core temperature. Generally, a rectal temperature is required, but the body surface temperature (axillary temperature or ear temperature) can also be used for reference. Even if the armpit temperature or ear temperature is not high, the possibility of getting heatstroke cannot be ruled out. Keep monitoring the body temperature or take the temperature every 10 minutes.
Use cold water or diluted alcohol to wipe the patient's body and continuously use a fan for cooling down. You can also put a towel soaked in cold water, an ice pack or ice cubes on the patient's head, neck, armpits or groin to help the patient dissipate heat.
If the patient is awake and hasn't experience nausea or vomiting, feed him or her light salt water or sports drinks, or traditional Chinese medicines such as Rendan, Shidishui, and Huoxiang Zhengqi Shui.
If conditions permit, rapid intravenous infusion can be performed on site, preferably with normal saline or Ringer's solution at 4 degrees Celsius. Remember that the infusion rate should be slow at the beginning to avoid adverse reactions such as arrhythmia.