First Aid Tips: Heatstroke


Based on a module by Fred Mednick from the Connexions website’s Health Education Course


Introduction by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert




Fun in the sun is a hallmark of summer. However, too much sun is no fun. When heatstroke strikes, it’s a life and death matter. This article gives some condensed yet valuable advice that can help prevent you or a loved one from becoming a heatstroke casualty. --Don Rose




Helping someone who is suffering from heatstroke (or who appears to be on the verge of it) can prevent serious injury from occurring, or even save a person’s life. As a quick refresher, here are a few useful tips:

  1. Cool the body of a heatstroke victim immediately.
  2. If possible, do one of the following:

·         put the person in cool water;

·         wrap him/her in cool wet clothes; or

·         sponge his/her skin with cool water, rubbing alcohol, ice, or cold packs.

  1. Once the victim's temperature drops to about 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you may lay him/her in the recovery position in a cool room.
  2. If the person’s temperature begins to rise again, repeat the cooling process.
  3. If he/she is able to drink, you may give him/her some water.
  5. Watch for signs of shock while waiting for medical attention.

If you believe you are a victim of heatstroke yourself, use the above seven steps as an action guide, and try to get someone to assist you. Do not hesitate to ask people nearby for help, if needed; staying alive trumps modesty and shyness.


For heatstroke victims who are home and need to contact paramedics for attention, dial 911. If you are not near a phone, or too weak to get to a phone or to use it, you can still get immediate help if you are a member of Life Alert; simply press your pendant to get in touch with live dispatchers within seconds. They can send help to you, which will arrive in a matter of minutes. Life Alert members who are not home when heatstroke (or other emergencies) strike can also use a special one-button 911 cellphone (an optional feature). If you don’t have Life Alert, see below for links to information on this lifesaving service.




The article above is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.


Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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