What is heatstroke? Signs and symptoms and how to treat


Temperatures are expected to rise again in the UK this week, with the Met Office issuing amber extreme heat warnings for some areas.

So with more hot weather on the way, these are the signs of heat stroke you need to know about, and how to take care of yourself in the heat.

A level two heat warning was issued ahead of the heatwave (Picture: Getty Images)

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

The UKHSA is urging people to exercise caution in the heat and be aware of the common signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.


Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes, but if it turns into heat exhaustion it needs to be treated as an emergency NHS says.

The main warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and nausea
  • excessive sweating and sallow, clammy skin
  • Cramps in arms, legs and stomach
  • rapid breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38 ° C or higher
  • be very thirsty

Symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children can become limp and sleepy.

Heatstroke can be very serious if not treated quickly (Photo: Adobe)

What is the treatment for heat stroke?


If you notice any of the symptoms, it is a sign that your body needs cooling.

Drinking plenty of water and applying it to the skin helps, as well as going to a cool, shady place, lying down, and elevating your feet slightly.


If you are not feeling better and are showing any of the following signs, you should call 999 immediately:

  • Feeling unwell after resting in a cool place for 30 minutes and drinking plenty of water
  • don’t sweat, even if it’s too hot
  • a high temperature of 40 ° C or higher
  • rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • be confused
  • a fit (fit)
  • loss of consciousness
  • busy

These symptoms are all signs that you may be suffering from heat stroke, which can be very serious if not treated quickly:


How do I prevent heat stroke?

To prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the NHS recommends:

  • drink a lot of cold drinks, especially when exercising
  • take cool baths or showers
  • wear light-colored, loose clothing
  • Spraying water on skin or clothing
  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol
  • Avoiding extreme training

These tips will also help keep your body from drying out and keep you cool.