Alternative MedicinesInfectionInjuries
   Arm or Leg Fractures
   Blunt Chest Injuries
   Blunt and Penetrating Abdominal Injuries
   Cerebral Contusion
   Cold Injuries
   Decompression Sickness
   Dislocated or Fractured Jaw
   Dislocations and Subluxations
   Electric Shock
   Fractured Nose
   Heat Syndrome
   Insect Bites and Stings
   Near Drowning
   Open Trauma Wounds
   Penetrating Chest Wounds
   Perforated Eardrum
   Poisonous Snakebites
   Radiation Exposure
   Rape Trauma Syndrome
   Skull Fractures
   Spinal Injuries
   Sprains and Strains
   Traumatic Amputation
   Whiplash Injuries

Heat Syndrome

Humans normally adjust to excessive temperatures through complex cardiovascular and neurologic changes, which are coordinated by the hypothalamus. Heat loss offsets heat production to regulate the body temperature. It does this by evaporation (of sweat) or vasodilation, which cools the body's surface by radiation, conduction, and convection.

Sometimes both environmental and internal factors can increase heat production or decrease heat loss beyond the body's ability to compensate. When this happens, heat syndrome results. There are three categories of heat syndrome: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.


Heat syndrome may result from conditions that increase heat production, such as excessive exercise, infection, and drugs (for example. amphetamines). It can also stem from factors that impair heat dissipation including high temperatures or humidity, lack of acclimatization, excess clothing, cardiovascular disease, obesity, dehydration, sweat gland dysfunction, and drugs such as phenothiazines and anticholinergics.

Heatstroke is commonly seen in elderly people on excessively hot summer days, particularly when they are inside with windows and doors closed and no air conditioning. They might not open windows and doors because they are afraid someone may break in and injure them.


  • faintness,
  • light headedness,
  • dizziness,
  • headache
  • nausea.


For heat cramps, treatment consists of moving the patient to a cool environment, providing rest, and administering oral or I.V. fluid and electrolyte replacement (for example, Lytren or Rehydralyte for adults and Pedialyte for children). Salt tablets aren't recommended because of their comparatively slow absorption rate.

Treatment for heat exhaustion involves moving the patient to a cool environment, providing rest, and administering oral fluid and electrolyte replacement. If I.V. fluid replacement is necessary, laboratory test results determine the choice of I.V. solution - usually saline or isotonic glucose solution.

Heatstroke therapy focuses on lowering the body temperature as rapidly as possible. The patient's clothing is removed and cool water is applied to the skin, followed by fanning with cool air. Shivering is controlled with diazepam or chlorpromazine. Application of hypothermia blankets and ice packs to the groin and axillae also helps lower body temperature. Treatment continues until the body temperature drops to 102.20 F (390 C). Supportive measures include oxygen therapy, central venous pressure and pulmonary artery wedge pressure monitoring, and, if necessary, endotracheal intubation. The patient is closely observed for complications.

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