heat collapse

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Loss of consciousness associated with hot environments or exercising in clothing that restricts heat loss and causes overheating. Excessive sweating and shunting blood to the skin and muscles, reduces blood flow to the brain, causing fainting. Heat collapse is one of the commonest medical conditions on a hot day and is exacerbated by standing for long periods. It is potentially dangerous because it can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Uncomplicated heat collapse often occurs when individuals stand for long periods in a very hot environment. Recovery is usually quick if the sufferer lies down with legs elevated, is given a watery drink, and is sponged with tepid water. However, if the sufferer loses consciousness and has a high rectal temperature (41 °C or above), heat stroke should be suspected until a medical diagnosis proves otherwise.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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