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Sun Stroke (Heat Stroke)

Bryan Applications, S

Exposure to excessive heat may cause heat stroke, a condition having some resemblance to an apoplectic seizure. When following exposure to the rays of the sun the condition is described as sunstroke, psoriasis, or insolation, but exposure to the sun is not the only way in which heat stroke may be caused; it may occur in stokers and others similarly placed. Its occurrence is favored by alcoholic habits, inability to sweat freely, by too heavy clothing, and by exposure of the head and neck to the sun.

The patient may suddenly fall unconscious or there may be preliminary symptoms, such as headache, giddiness, vomiting, and sickness. Sometimes there is what appears to be acute asphyxia, with blue-ness of the face and extremities, and the patient may die in a very short time. Usually, however, the face is flushed, the pupils very small, the pulse bounding, and the breathing stertorous. The skin feels burning, and if the temperature of the body is taken it will be found to be very high, perhaps 107° to 110° F.

The immediate treatment for heat stroke is to take the patient into the shade, or the coolest place available, strip the clothing from the trunk, and souse the trunk and head with cold water. As soon as possible he should be taken home or to a hospital, where an effort will be made to lower the temperature by rubbing him over with ice or giving an iced pack or bath, and possibly an iced enema.

Another effect of excessive heat is what is called heat exhaustion, the patient becoming more or less collapsed. The skin is pale and cool, the pulse small and rapid, and the temperature probably subnormal.

There is no loss of consciousness. The patient should be put to bed in a well-ventilated room, and if the temperature is raised the treatment is that of fever (q.v.). If, however, the temperature is subnormal, a hot bath or hot-water bottles around him in bed, with stimulants, is the correct treatment. For stimulation a teaspoonful of sal volatile in a wine-glass of water, hot tea or coffee, or diluted spirits may be given. See: Fever.. Stroke..

Application and treatment:

A sudden severe attack as of apoplexy or paralysis; recoil of ventricles at time the blood is forced onto aorta; Thermic fever or sunstroke, heat exhaustion; or, more rarely heat cramps. It could also be caused by a sudden attack of paralysis from injury to the brain or spinal cord.

Use positive on heart, negative on spleen. Patient may have eyes closed, lips open, both hands open, excessive sweating, urine and bowels uncontrolled, pulse weak and hollow.