I’m a doctor – here’s the 3 major signs of heatstroke you must NEVER ignore

A DOCTOR has warned of three major signs of heatstroke to be aware of this week.

Today, temperatures could reach a high of 40C and potentially higher.


Heat stroke is when you can’t cool down after 30 minutesCredit: Getty

Forecasters have refused to rule out the possibility of another heatwave later this year because of how early it is.

With hot weather comes the potential for heat stroke.

Even the most fit and healthy are at risk, but extra care should be taken for babies, the elderly and the medically vulnerable.

Heat stroke is a very serious condition and the most concerning of all heat-related illnesses.

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It occurs when the body’s temperature becomes dangerously high and is no longer able to cool down.

Left untreated, heat stroke can lead to complications, such as brain damage and organ failure.

Heat stroke follows heat exhaustion – which isn’t usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes by laying down in a cool place and drinking water.

If you don’t cool down and continue to feel unwell 30 minutes after symptoms, it means you have heat stroke and need urgent medical attention.

Dr Karan Rajan – an NHS doctor and TikTok sensation – told his almost five million followers to be wary of “three major warning signs of a heat stroke”.

He said: “Even though you’re boiling hot, you stop sweating. 

“Your body is so dehydrated the natural cooling mechanism – sweating – stops.

“If you don’t cool down quick the body temperature will keep rising. You start feeling confused.

“With dehydration, the brain shrinks and there’s reduced blood perfusion to the brain – muscle cramps.

“The massive dehydration causes shift in the electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium

“This directly affects your muscles, causing weakness and cramps.”

Alongside a failure to sweat, confusion and muscle cramps, heat stroke may cause a person’s temperature to spike to 40C or above.

It’s a sign the body has become incapable of regulating temperature.

In this scenario, you should call 111 to get advice. 

But if a person has any of the following, call 999:

  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • A fit (seizure)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive

Heat exhaustion comes before heat stroke and doesn’t always need treatment.

It starts off as excessive sweating before a person stops sweating with heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion also causes clammy skin, cramps in the limbs and stomach, and a headache.

Other symptoms are dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, fast breathing or pulse, a high temperature of 38C or above and thirst.

Children may become floppy and sleepy.

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If someone has heat exhaustion, they should lie down in a cool place, with their feet elevated, drink plenty of water and cool the skin, such as with a water spray or ice packs to the armpits.

They should get better within 30 minutes – if not, it’s a sign of heat stroke.

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