The body has natural means of regulating its own temperature—but failure to do so in the face of extreme heat is called heatstroke, and it can result in permanent organ damage or even death. Infants, the elderly, and athletes are at highest risk, but anyone is susceptible.
: Call 911 if a victim is suffering from heat stroke, the symptoms of which may include a body temperature of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, strange or confused behavior, rapid heartbeat and breathing, an absence of sweating, seizures, or coma.
Step 1: Cool victim Cooling the heat stroke victim is the first and most important thing you can do. Get him or her out of the heat, either into air conditioning or into a shaded area, immediately.
Step 2: Call 911 If there are bystanders nearby, ask one of them to call 911. If not, call 911 as soon as you can as you proceed with cooling the victim.
Step 3: Remove clothing Remove the victim's clothing and lay them down or seat them.
Step 4: Apply cool water Apply cool water to the victim's body or drape him or her with a cool wet sheet.
TIP: If you're near a bathtub, fill it with cool water--but not ice cold, which could send the victim into shock--and sit or lay the victim down in it. Make sure his or her face is clear of the water.
Step 5: Fan victim Direct a fan to blow on the victim's wet skin, or manually fan the victim. This promotes evaporation of the moisture, which helps cool the body.
Step 6: Place ice packs Place ice packs wrapped in towels in the victim's armpits and between his or her thighs.
FACT: The best way to treat heat stroke is to prevent it: stay hydrated, wear hats and light-colored, loose clothing, and avoid alcohol, coffee, and tea in hot weather.