OK, so the British summertime may not be ideal for this piece of content. However, not many people realise you can get heatstroke from just being in the shade. Its all to do with the sun’s UV rays. These simple steps will ensure that when the sun does shine (eventually) that you will have fun in the sun.
Prolonged exposure to the sun or lack of fluids can cause your body to dangerously overheat. If you are suffering from heatstroke you may have symptoms such as a rapid pulse, headache and dizziness. Your skin will be hot to the touch, red and flushed. As the condition worsens you will become disorientated and confused. It’s important to lower your body temperature as soon as possible. To treat heatstroke, remove as much clothing as possible and call for an ambulance. Move them to a cool place and wrap them in a cold, wet sheet or a suitable alternative until their temperature falls. If a sheet isn’t available, sponge them with cold water. Once their temperature returns to normal replace the sheet with a dry one and make a note of their pulse and breathing until help arrives. If their temperature starts to rise again, repeat the cooling process
This is caused by the loss of salt and water from excessive sweating. Common symptoms include headache, dizziness, cramps, breathing that is fast but weak, and profuse sweating. Move to a cool, shady area and make and get comfortable. Lie down with legs raised and drink plenty of water. If you have them available, use isotonic drinks or a sachet of oral rehydration powder in water instead.
This happens when the fluid lost from the body – usually through sweat – isn’t replaced. Symptoms are a dry mouth and eyes, headaches, dark urine, dizziness and confusion. Avoid it by drinking water regularly, not just when you feel thirsty. The young and old are at particular risk, so it’s crucial to rehydrate them promptly – and if you’re playing sports or other demanding activities, your fluid needs will be much higher. To treat dehydration, drink plenty of fluids; water is normally suitable but you may prefer to add oral rehydration powder to help replace the salts lost from the body.
Fainting can be triggered by heat. If you’re prone to fainting, ensure you eat regularly and don’t stand up for extended periods during the heatwave. If you start to feel faint, lie down, then raise their legs to improve blood flow to the brain. Make sure you have fresh air, and keep bystanders away if you can.
Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing and staying in the shade, but if it’s happened already there are some simple ways to ease the pain. As soon as you notice, cover yourself up and move out of the sun. Take frequent sips of cold water and cool the burnt skin with a cold damp cloth, or you may find it more practical to soak the area in a basin or bath of cool water for around ten minutes. Calamine or aftersun lotion can make you feel more comfortable. If your skin is blistered, you should seek medical advice.
You’re more likely to get cramp in the heat as it’s often caused by sweating, dehydration or exercise. The sharp onset of pain makes it alarming, but by carefully stretching and gently massaging the affected muscles it can quickly be brought under control. If it’s in the foot, stand with your weight in the front of the foot to stretch the muscles.
If it’s in the calf, straighten your knee and flex the foot upwards. If it’s in the front of the thigh, raise the leg and bend the knee, and if it’s in the back of the thigh you should straighten the knee. Massage the affected muscles afterwards.
BRITISH RED CROSS APP
Our smartphones are like our pets – we are never without them by our sides! Download the British Red Cross app for info on how to deal with heatstroke. Not only that it will offer great advice for First Aid and show videos on how it should be done. And its free!