Show Summary Details
Page of

Heat 

Heat

Chapter:
Heat
Author(s):

M.A. Stroud

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.090501
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 25 March 2017

Rising body temperature triggers behavioural and physiological responses including reduction in physical activity, alterations of clothing, skin vasodilatation, and sweating. Heat-related illness is relatively common, especially with high humidity or prolonged physical activity. Risk can be reduced by acclimatization with repeated heat exposure, but some individuals seem to be particularly susceptible.

Clinical presentations of heat-related illness include (1) ‘heat exhaustion’—the commonest manifestation, with symptoms including nausea, weakness, headache, and thirst. Patients appear dehydrated, complain of being hot, and are flushed and sweaty. Treatment requires rest and fluids, given orally or (in severe cases) intravenously. (2) ‘heat stroke’—victims often complain of headache, may be drowsy or irritable, and may claim to feel cold. Core temperature is usually 38 to 41 °C, but the patient is shivering with dry, vasoconstricted skin. Treatment requires (a) aggressive rapid cooling—tepid water and fan-assisted evaporation in the first instance, with more invasive measures, e.g. intraperitoneal fluids, if required; (b) close biochemical monitoring; (c) supportive care for organ failure. There is significant mortality.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.