First aid for heat-induced conditions

Heat-induced conditions occur when the body’s core temperature is elevated. This is known as Hyperthermia.

What to do

Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan.

Cooling management

  • Lie the person in a cool environment or in the shade
  • Loosen and remove excessive clothing.
  • Send for an ambulance if not improving quickly

While waiting for professional assistance for individuals over 5 years of age:

  • Immerse (i.e. whole-body from the neck down) in cold water (a bath if possible, as cold as possible) for 15 minutes.

If this is not available, a combination of the following methods should be used:

  • Wet the person with cold or cool water, under a shower if safe, or with a hose or other water source
  • Apply ice packs (groin, armpits, facial cheeks, palms and soles)
  • Repeatedly moisten the skin with a moist cloth or water spray
  • Fan continuously

While waiting for professional assistance for children 5 years of age and under:

  • Cool in a tepid (lukewarm) bath sponging frequently if bath available, or:
  • Repeatedly moisten the skin with a moist cloth or atomizer spray
  • Fan continuously

Hydration Management

  • Give cool or cold water to drink if fully conscious and able to swallow. 

Caused by

  • Excessive heat absorption from a hot environment
  • Excessive heat production from metabolic activity
  • Failure of the body’s cooling mechanisms
  • An alteration in the body’s set temperature

Signs and symptoms

  • Inability to continue the activity
  • High body temperature
  • Dizziness and faintness
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Pale skin and other signs of shock
  • Dry skin
  • Poor muscle control or weakness
  • Decreasing levels of consciousness, confusion or seizures.