Jessie Peterson

Sunstroke

Our summers are getting hotter. Therefore, protect yourself well from the sun and avoid getting heatstroke or, even worse, heat stroke. But how do you actually recognize heatstroke? What should you do if you have heatstroke? And more importantly, how can you prevent heatstroke? We tell you everything you need to know about heatstroke.

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke causes your body to overheat. You can get heatstroke if you sit in the sun too long and drink too little. If you drink too little, you can  become dehydrated . You can also get heatstroke if you exert yourself too much in the sun. In the worst case, heatstroke can turn into heat stroke. With heat stroke, your body can no longer release the heat and the part in your brain that balances body temperature is disrupted. This allows your body temperature to rise to no less than 42˚C. That is dangerous. Children, the elderly and overweight people are especially at risk of heatstroke and heat stroke.

Note: Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone has a heat stroke and if they vomit, are confused and / or pass out and are not conscious after two minutes.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?

The following complaints occur prior to heatstroke:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Limp
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache

Heatstroke can be recognized by the following symptoms:

  • Warm, glowing skin or cold, clammy skin
  • To sweat
  • Headache
  • Nausea and / or vomiting
  • Showed
  • Dizziness
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Muscle cramps or muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures (type of seizure)
  • Movement problems
  • Unconsciousness

If you don’t cool down in time with heatstroke, you can get a heat stroke. With heat stroke, less blood flows to your skin, making your skin pale and stop sweating. Heat stroke can be further recognized by the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and headache
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • A red skin
  • Fainting and / or unconsciousness
  • Rapid and / or irregular breathing
  • A fast and / or irregular heartbeat

How long does heatstroke last?

The symptoms associated with heatstroke usually last for several days. Take enough rest and stay out of the sun until the complaints have completely disappeared. Are the complaints not resolved by themselves? Then consult your doctor.…

What To Do With Heatstroke?

It is important to take immediate action as soon as you experience symptoms such as headache, nausea or dizziness when exposed to the sun. This should be done with heatstroke:

  • Get out of the sun directly.
  • Find the shade or a cool space.
  • Take off as much clothing as possible.
  • Cool your body with wet, cool towels and try to wet them every five minutes.
  • Drink water to restore your moisture level.
  • Eat or drink something salty to supplement your salt content.
  • Take a paracetamol, this can help against the headache.
  • If you have a fan, turn it on. This can make you cool down better.

Do you suspect someone has a heat stroke? Here’s what to do in a heat stroke:

  • Call or have someone else call 112 immediately.
  • Take the victim to a cool environment.
  • Rest the victim and make no effort.
  • Actively cool the victim.
  • You can do this by placing a cold pack on the victim’s neck, armpits or groin.
  • Prevent the victim from shivering.
  • Do not give the victim anythingto eat or drink.

How can you prevent heatstroke?

Heatstroke can be very dangerous. That is why prevention is better than cure. This is how you prevent heatstroke:

  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm. Then the radiation from the sun is strongest.
  • Apply sunscreen every two hours. Don’t be too economical! In any case, re-apply after you swim or if you sweat a lot.
  • Do not stay in the sun for too long. Find the shade regularly so that your body has the opportunity to cool down.
  • Keep your head and neck out of direct sun as much as possible. For example, wear a hat or cap.
  • Drink enough water. On a hot day you need at least 2 liters of moisture. Also drink if you are not thirsty.
  • Do not drink alcohol. As tempting as a cold beer can be on a hot summer day, you better leave it alone. Alcohol is diuretic, so you often have to urinate and lose even more moisture.
  • Try to avoid physical exertion and heavy work on sunny, warm days. This will prevent you from sweating even more and losing even more moisture. Also pay special attention to this in the tropics.

When should you see a doctor?

Heatstroke is a condition that is taken very seriously. Heatstroke can be a life-threatening situation, especially for children and the elderly. If the symptoms do not subside or disappear in the short term, it is wise to contact your doctor.

Call 112 right away if you think someone else has heatstroke or heat stroke and they:

  • Keep vomiting; and / or
  • Is very confused; and / or
  • Is passed out and does not regain consciousness within two minutes.

Heatstroke in babies and children

Mild heatstroke can be life-threatening for babies and children. Babies should therefore always be kept out of direct sun. Do you recognize one or more of the symptoms of heatstroke? Or does your child indicate that he or she is not feeling well after a day out in the sun? Then consult your doctor immediately.