What are the symptoms of heatstroke and how is it treated?

It’s ok to have fun in the sun but watch out for signs of heat stroke (Picture: Getty)

We spend the entire year waiting for some sunshine and when it comes, it comes with a vengeance!

June has already seen the hottest day of the year recorded, with temperatures reaching 26.6°C.

With this heatwave looking like it is set to continue, you want to make sure you’re protected against the very warm conditions.

It’s important to watch out for signs of heatstroke, which is when you overheat as a result of overexposure to the sun.

It becomes most serious when your body reaches between 38-40°C (104 Fahrenheit).

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

There are many signs of heatstroke to look out for, including the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Cramps in the arms, legs, and stomach
  • Fast breathing or pulse
  • Intense thirst

man on a sunny beach

Heatstroke can be dangerous (Picture: Getty)

How can you prevent heatstroke?

There are steps you can take to avoid overheating.

The NHS recommends drinking plenty of cold liquids, especially when exercising. Although fizzy drinks and cocktails are tasty, water is really the best thing to ensure you are well-hydrated.

Enusre you take cool baths and showers to bring your body temperature down when you start to feel too hot.

Light coloured cotton or linen clothing is encouraged, as it is breathable and will not trap the heat on your body.

The hottest part of the day is midday so try to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm.

Heatstroke occurs mostly due to high external temperatures but can also happen due to physical exertion.

Exercising in heat waves, high humidity, or taking certain drugs like diuretics, beta blockers, or alcohol can be risk factors.

Heart disease and skin disorders can also increase the chances of getting heatstroke.

So make sure you take precautions and enjoy the sun responsibly.

How do you treat heat stroke?

If you do think someone is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, immediately take them to a cool place.

Give them plenty of fluids – water is encouraged, but sports or rehydration drinks are also okay.

Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.

Cool their skin by spraying or sponging them with cool water and a fan. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too.

They should be better in 30 minutes, if not, then you should call 999.

You should also call 999 if the patient suffering from heatstroke:

  • Feels hot and dry
  • Is not sweating even though they are too hot
  • Has a temperature that’s risen to 40°C or above
  • Has rapid or shortness of breath
  • Is confused
  • Has a fit (seizure)
  • Loses consciousness
  • Is unresponsive

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