Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. 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 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
The symptoms of heat stroke include: hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; hallucinations; chills; throbbing headache; high body temperature; confusion/dizziness; and slurred speech. Help a person who might be suffering from heat stroke and take the following steps: call for medical assistance immediately; move the sick person to a cool shaded area; soak his/her clothes with water; spray, sponge or shower him/her with water; fan the body.
To avoid heat stroke, drink at least 12 glasses of water every day, wear light and comfortable clothes, avoid exposure to too much sunlight, and use an umbrella and sunblock.
People with the following conditions are especially prone to heat stroke: alcoholism; chronic illnesses like heart disease; obesity; uncontrolled diabetes; Parkinson’s disease; older age; use of certain medications such as diuretics and antihistamines; and use of some illegal psychoactive drugs such as methamphetamine (shabu, in the Philippines).