Heat Illness

If you live in the UK you may be fooled in to thinking that Heat Illness isn’t really something we need to worry about…but you’d be wrong! Each year there are 800 deaths due to Heat Illness and figures in more temperate climates are significantly more.

In this podcast we tackle the topic of Heat Illness, all the way through Heat Cramps, Heat Syncope, Heat Exhaustion and to Heat Stroke.

We’ll cover the following;

  • Definition, clinical spectrum and categories
  • Scale of the problem
  • Thermoregulatory physiology
  • Impact of hyperthermia
  • Clinical findings
  • Those at greatest risk
  • Acclimatisation
  • Differentials
  • Management

As always we’d love to hear any thoughts or comments you have on the website and via twitter, we look forward to hearing from you, and most importantly, we hope we haven’t missed the summer heat wave…!


SimonRob & James


Heat Stroke; LITFL

Heat related illness; RCEMLearning

Cooling and hemodynamic management in heatstroke: practical recommendations. Bouchama A. Crit Care. 2007

Heat stroke: implications for critical care and anaesthesia. Grogan H. Br J Anaesth. 2002

Clinical review: Treatment of heat stroke: should dantrolene be considered? Hadad E. Crit Care. 2005

Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Heat-Related Illness: 2014 Update. Grant S. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 2014


  • Alex says:

    If you have no access to taps, hoses, or showers, a good trick I’ve found is to use a nasal mucosal atomisation device attached to a 50mL syringe (bigger if you have one!) and using whatever fluids you have (normal saline, bottled water) to create a mist of water to spray the patient with. You can make small amounts of liquid go very far using this trick! You can also easily implement this en route to definitive care.

  • Richard Sawyer says:

    Worth listening to not only for your patients but for yourselves. Heat illness can get those doing the rescues as well as well as their patients especially when kitted out in Covid 19 PPE, dry suits, etc. Keep well and stay safe everyone.

  • Gareth Greenslade says:

    I agree that ambulances are more likely to heat the patient up rather than cool them down! What airway care would you advise for the GCS 3 patient whilst cooling?

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