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January 14, 1983

Management of Heatstroke

Author Affiliations

Midway Island Dispensary Midway Island, FPO

JAMA. 1983;249(2):194. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330260018017

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To the Editor.—  The development of new treatment for pilgrims to Mecca who experience heatstroke and related articles in The Journal (1982; 247:3332) prompted me to relate a treatment often used in tropical areas. Applicable anywhere, particularly for a febrile child whose hot, dry skin recoils from the usual frightening and chilling regimen of ice and/or alcohol sponging (which increases the physiological thermal blanket with thickened gooseflesh as the shivering muscles respond to raise the temperature), this effective and comforting treatment is by the application of large, warm, sopping-wet towels up to the chin of the stripped body lying on a plastic sheet or old blankets; the wet warmth provides relaxation to the vasoconstricted skin; when the wet towels are removed after a few seconds, the "pseudosweat," in a normal evaporative fashion, cools pleasantly; as drying or recurring goosebumps are noted, the warm, wet application is repeated as long as