Sunstroke – Hats NOT off

In the summer season, especially now after the extended lockdowns, everyone wants to enjoy the sun and spend free time outside. But beware. Too much exposure to the sun can lead to sunstroke. What are the preventive measures, the symptoms and what helps against it you will learn here in our sunstroke blog.

Preventive measures 

The best measure against sunstroke is not to let it happen in the first place. However, there exists a wealth of preventative tips: 

  • Drink plenty of water. It is best always to have a bottle/glass of water on hand.
  • Wear appropriate headgear in the blazing sun. A large, light-coloured hat that protects the neck and head is recommended. 
  • Wear airy clothing. It should be loose and made of light fabric.
  • Seek shade and apply sunscreen. Avoid direct sunlight for an extended period of time. 
  • Do not underestimate the sun and listen to your body. When the first symptoms appear, go to a cool place immediately.

Causes 

Sunstroke is one of the so-called heat injuries, along with heat cramp, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. This damage can occur when a person is exposed to elevated temperatures for an extended period of time. Therefore, the cause of sunstroke is the excessive absorption of solar radiation hitting the unprotected head and neck area. This irritates the meninges or brain tissue, and this can lead to inflammation of the meninges. Sunstroke occurs when the body’s cooling mechanisms (e.g., sweating) fail. The body temperature is usually not elevated during this process. People with little hair, a bald head, or infants and children are at increased risk of sunstroke because the head is more unprotected.

Symptoms 

It is essential to know the symptoms of sunstroke to respond appropriately. Unfortunately, early recognition of sunstroke is complex because symptoms often do not appear until several hours after a long, unprotected stay in the sun.

The symptoms of sunstroke are: 

  • Severely red, hot head 
  • Severe headache/neck pain
  • Nausea and even vomiting 
  • Circulatory problems
  • Cramps
  • Chills and dizziness 
  • Fever
  • Disturbances of consciousness up to loss of consciousness  

Symptoms may subside within a few hours but can last for days.

What can you do when a sunstroke occurs?

For mild sunstroke some home remedies can also help:

  •  Put compresses with cold curd or yoghurt on the neck or head of the affected. This not only cools but can additionally soothe sun-reddened skin.
  • Mix cold tea or water with a teaspoon of salt and give the affected person to drink. If necessary, an electrolyte solution from the pharmacy may also be helpful to compensate for salt loss due to heavy sweating (or vomiting).
  • Homeopathic remedies such as Natrium carbonicum, Belladonna and Glonoinum.

If symptoms are severe, such as severe pain or loss of consciousness, a physician should be consulted immediately.
If you are unsure what to do in case of sunstroke, you can reach a doctor around the clock thanks to our myTeleDoc app and get fast and competent advice. Download the app and register: 
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