Heatstroke: Prevention and First Aid Advice



Heatstroke occurs both outdoors and indoors

Heatstroke occurs both outdoors and indoors

Heatstroke is a physical condition caused by overheating the body under high temperatures. Heatstroke often occurs while exercising or performing physical labor outdoors. This can happen to healthy people and in a brief period of time. Heatstroke can also occur indoors in elderly people and lead to serious conditions if not found and treated promptly.

In most times, heatstroke is preventable with the appropriate precautions. Here we show you tips on preventing heatstroke and first aid actions.

Preventing Heatstroke Indoors

Block direct sunlight

Room temperature rises rapidly when the sun comes in. Use bamboo blinds (such as Sudare or Yoshizu) or curtains to block direct sunlight. It is also effective to do Uchimizu, an old Japanese custom to sprinkle water outside the house to cool the temperature.

Use air-conditioning and electric fans

Do not hesitate to use air-conditioning and electric fans to cool the room and lower humidity. Manage the room temperature with a thermometer and a hygrometer rather than relying on your senses.

Drink plenty of fluids

Drink frequently before you feel thirsty. People can have trouble feeling thirst when dehydrated. A cold drink can both cool the body, and be easily absorbed. It is also important to restore salt and maintain electrolyte balance to help the body sweat. Have some crackers and snacks with your drink.

Preventing Heatstroke Outdoors

Check the weather and heatstroke forecasts before going out

Before going out, check the weather forecast for the weather, temperature, and heatstroke information. Avoid going out during the hottest hours.

Use a parasol or hat

Use a parasol or hat to avoid direct sunray on your skin. Walk in the shade to avoid the sun.

Check up on small children

Children are more susceptible to overheating due to the heat wave reflection from the pavement. Check up frequently on small children.

Take frequent breaks

Take frequent rests in the shade. Take off your hat to help sweat evaporate.

Don’t forget to replenish salt when you sweat

Oral rehydration solution or sports drinks can restore electrolyte balance after sweating. Make sure to replenish both water and salt.

First Aid for Heatstroke
Check if the person is conscious

When somebody is feeling sick on a sweltering day, it is important to suspect heatstroke. Remember that heatstroke can occur indoors as well as outdoors. First, check if the person is conscious.

If the person is conscious…

First Aid for Heatstroke

Move the person to a cool place

If it is difficult to move the person, use a parasol to block direct sunlight.

Loosen clothes and belts to cool the body

Loosen the person’s clothes and belts to dissipate heat and cool the body.

Offer Water

Offer something to drink and encourage the person to drink by themselves. Let the person lie down and rest. If they recover and seem as their usual selves, consider that the danger has passed.
However, if the person cannot drink or does not recover, seek medical attention.

If the person is not conscious…

If the person is not conscious…

Call an ambulance immediately

If the person is unconscious, confused, or slow to respond, call an ambulance immediately.

Move to a cool place, loosen clothes, and cool the body

Cool the body with ice or ice packs by placing it around the neck, under the arms, and in the groin area.

Do not let the person drink water when they are unconscious. It may lead to accidental suffocation.