Here's What It Feels Like To Die By Heat Stroke

For the most part, humankind tends to quite like the heat. Thoughts of vacations, beaches, garishly colored drinks, and time away from work are all things most of us can fully appreciate (if we're lucky enough, of course).

The sun, however, is just as much friend as foe. We can't even look directly at it, as this can cause solar retinopathy (damage to tissues and cells of the eyes caused by ultraviolet light, per Healthline). Many of us have faced the uncomfortable horrors of sunburn at some point in our lives, but if you don't take the appropriate precautions while basking in the heat, that could be the least of your worries.

Heat stroke is a real and ever-present danger, and it really cannot be underestimated. Here's a look at the long, drawn-out, and horrific fate that can await those who die by heat stroke.

As the CDC reports, heat stroke is one of several illnesses that can affect a heat-stressed human body. These include rhabdomyolysis (the death of muscle cells from exertion) and heat exhaustion (a natural reaction to the loss of crucial salt and water). Heat stroke is considered the most dangerous of them, though, and it's plain to see why on delving into the truly awful effects it can have on the body.

Disruption of the body's internal temperature can be fatal

As unpleasant as sweating a lot can be, per the CDC, the process is vital in cooling the body and regulating its internal temperature. Healthline reports that the average temperature of the body is between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 37.8 degrees Celsius) and that relatively minor increases or decreases can have dangerous health implications. Heat stroke disrupts the body's ability to maintain its inner temperature, with rapidly escalating effects.

Outside Online reports that experienced athletes can continue to exert themselves up to internal temperatures of around 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This remains a danger zone, though, and those whose bodies are unable to withstand this can be subject to a range of issues: heat cramps begin to set in at around 104 degrees, blood pressure can reduce, and the blood-starved brain can begin to hallucinate.

As the internal heat rises, the metabolism speeds up, which only generates more heat. Soon, the body's very cells will start to come apart, leading to damage to the kidney and other organs, per Outside Online. The blood can solidify and the heart can stop. Health Direct reports that heat stroke can be treated through medical care (with careful application of cold water and other efforts to cool the body in the interim), but time is of the essence.