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Heatstroke vs. stroke: Know the difference

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heatstroke vs stroke sunny image

There’s heatstroke and then there’s stroke. Both are serious, but there are big differences.

Know those differences. Know what to do if you think someone near you is having one of those emergencies.

“We do get patients who come in, who think ‘Well, it’s warm out, maybe it’s just heatstroke,’ when in fact it isn’t heatstroke. It’s an ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke, which the treatment is entirely different for,” says Dr. Ryan Murphy, an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic.

“Both of them are emergencies. When people are having heatstroke, that has permanent consequences. It can affect and kill off brain cells, just like a typical stroke would,” and both can be fatal, Murphy tells WBAY-TV.

“It’s important to be evaluated whether you think you’re suffering from heatstroke or what we would consider a more traditional type of stroke.”

When it gets hot, keep a close eye on older people.

“If you’re going over to check on a family member and you notice that it’s really warm in the house, but then you also notice that family member, they don’t seem quite right, they’re acting a lot different, they’re confused, they’re just off, this isn’t right, that would be an indication that they need to come in to be seen and be evaluated,” Murphy says.

Here’s a quick guide to heatstroke and stroke:

Heat Stroke vs. Stroke infographic

Published: Sunday, August 1, 2021
Author: Jeff Ash