What is heat stroke?
It’s a term you may also hear referred to as “sunstroke,” and it is clinically defined as when your core temperature soars above 40 degrees Celsius, along with central nervous system dysfunction, explains James Winger, MD, associate professor of family medicine.
Two “types” of heat stroke
Heat stroke can happen in two main ways. One is from exertion, when “exercise raises someone’s core body temperature and the systems that usually help the body cool back down don’t work,” says Dr Winger. For instance, high humidity may impair the body’s ability to cool itself off through perspiration – sweat. A second cause is due to environmental factors like being in a heat wave with no access to air conditioning, for instance.
Warning sign: Confusion
This is by far one of the biggest signs of heat stroke. It’s actually similar to hypothermia (when the body temperature drops too low): Sufferers may begin to make poor decisions or not respond appropriately when asked a question. One example might be getting lost in a trail race because you can no longer properly navigate, says Dr Winger.