Is heatstroke an emergency? The key things to do and when to call 999


While many of us are enjoying the sunshine while it lasts, too much time in the sun can cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that can be life-threatening or can cause lifelong health complications.

Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature control system can no longer regulate, leading to complications within the central nervous system.

Heatstroke is more likely in the elderly and young children, and in those who have been drinking alcohol or those with health conditions like diabetes and heart issues.


If you live in an urban area, you may be especially prone to develop heatstroke during a prolonged heatwave, particularly if there are stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality.

What should I do if someone has heatstroke?

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heatstroke, you should call 999 immediately.

If the person loses consciousness, put them in the recovery position while you wait for an ambulance.


Continue trying to cool them down by covering them in cold towels and keeping them in the shade.

Putting ice or cold packs on pressure points such as the wrists, ankles and back of the neck can help relieve a person suffering from heatstroke.


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