Content by the Korey Stringer Institute
Exertional Heat Stroke (EHS) is a severe condition characterized by an extremely high core body temperature of above 40 C (104 F), central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, and multiple organ system failure brought on by strenuous exercise, often occurring in the hot environments.
EHS is a medical emergency and can be a fatal condition if the individual’s core body temperature remains above 105 F for an extended period of time without the proper treatment.
It is recommended when performing temperature assessment, ONLY a rectal temperature should be used with an overheated individual; it is the only method for an accurate and immediate temperature assessment if an ingestible thermometer was not used prophylactically. Other temperature devices (tympanic, oral, skin or axillary) may give false readings.
Vigorous activity in hot-humid environment (usually lasting longer than 1 hour), lack of time to adapt to heat (acclimatization), poor physical fitness, dehydration, lack of sleep, fever or illness, warrior mentality, high pressure to perform and heavy equipment/uniform.
EHS is NOT limited to athletes exercising in hot weather. There have been many instances of EHS occurring in weather around 50 F. If someone is displaying signs of EHS, don’t ignore them just because the weather isn’t extremely hot or humid.
Rapid and aggressive whole-body cooling is the key to survival of exertional heat stroke
To prevent EHS, individuals should adapt to exercise in the heat gradually over 10-14 days (acclimatization) by progressively increasing duration and intensity of work, incorporate rest breaks, minimize amount of equipment/uniform worn in hot-humid weather, provide and encourage adequate fluid consumption.
What you can do:
The mission of the Korey Stringer Institute is to provide first-rate information, resources, assistance, and advocacy for the promotion of prevention of sudden death in sport via health and safety initiatives. KSI serves the needs of active individuals and athletes at all levels –– youth, high school, college, professional, people who are physically active, recreational athletes –– and those who supervise and care for these individuals. Components of these services include: consultations, advocacy, education, research, athlete testing, and mass-market outreach.