This is how you can recognise and prevent sunstroke

Tips for a hot summer day

  • Don’t exert yourself
  • Drink enough (no alcohol whatsoever)
  • Make sure you eat enough salt
  • Avoid direct sunlight between 12:00 (12 pm) and 15:00 (3 pm)
  • Look for coolness, for example at a pool or other body of water or in a cool room

“Adults can often tell when a moisture deficiency is near,” general practitioner Edwin de Vaal explains. “Children and elderly people often don’t notice that signal, though. Elderly people often don’t notice when they’re thirsty. That’s why it’s very important that they are supplied with plenty of water and other liquids to drink.”

Prevent overheating

“To prevent yourself from getting overheated, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon,” De Vaal says. He recommends covering your head with a hat or cap, drinking plenty and looking for coolness. “If need be, you can wet your head or T-shirt or use a fan.” What you definitely shouldn’t do on a scorching hot day? Cool yourself with ice cold water. “Your blood vessels are wide open because of the heat, and they will narrow due to the cold. Because of this, you’ll be able to get rid of the heat in your body less easily and the risk of getting sunstroke or overheated actually increases,” De Vaal explains.

Symptoms of overheating

  • Seeing stars, feeling like you might faint
  • Headache and dizziness, being lightheaded
  • Concentration problems and not being able to think straight
  • Muscle pains or loss of strength
  • Extreme thirst
  • Vomiting

In severe cases of sunstroke, someone can even fall unconscious. “If that happens, things are really bad,” De Vaal warns. “As long as someone is still breathing, you can start cooling them down immediately, for example through the use of a cool shower or wet towels. Once someone has regained consciousness you can give them something to drink. If the overheated person keeps vomiting, is restless or confused or keeps falling in and out of consciousness, you should call the emergency services right away.”

Disclaimer: this information is not an alternative to professional medical advice. In case of doubt, please contact your doctor.

Read more: Homemade, inventive solutions to control the heat in your home

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