Sunstroke – how to recognize it and how to react?

It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

As the summer season begins, it is helpful to know how to recognize the symptoms of sunstroke. It is equally important to ensure that appropriate first aid is administered to someone suffering from this particular condition.

What can cause sunstroke?

We often hear about sunstroke. It is also called heat stroke, sunstroke, or heat shock. As the name suggests, it occurs when certain parts of the body are exposed to intense, direct sunlight. It particularly affects the neck and head

Sunstroke is very dangerous to health, especially for children and the elderly. The specific condition occurs as a result of a disruption of the center responsible for thermoregulation of the body. Dehydration of the body, as well as a marked loss of electrolytes, can contribute to the occurrence of stroke. As a result, the body is unable to adequately transfer heat, which can lead to congestion of the meninges and the brain itself.

Under what conditions can sunstroke occur?

Although children and the elderly in particular suffer from the unpleasant consequences of sunstroke, it can happen to anyone. The risk is particularly high in hot climates. Consequently, the prevailing hot weather is a particularly dangerous period. This is when medics warn against being in the sun

If it is not hot and you are exposed to a lot of sun, sunstroke can also occur. When the weather is hot, we should refrain from intense games and long walks. It is not advisable to stay in hot, steamy rooms. But how can you tell if you are actually suffering from sunstroke?

Symptoms of sunstroke – how do I recognize it?

There are several clear signs of sunstroke. If you have been out in the heat of the sun or exposed to other conditions mentioned above, the symptoms you should look for are

  • dizziness and headaches – sometimes noticeably worse,
  • weakness,
  • restlessness,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • burning and redness of the skin,
  • chills,
  • visual disturbances,
  • slurred or even gibbering speech, and shaky gait,
  • rapid heart rate,
  • fever over 41 degrees Celsius,
  • muscle rigidity,
  • loss of consciousness,
  • profuse sweating that progresses to loss of sweating.

If the above symptoms occur, call for help. Even if only some of them are present, we should not shy away from medical consultation.

How to react in case of sunstroke?

If we ourselves are not a victim of sunstroke, but we see that another person may be affected, it is essential that we take specific first aid measures. What steps should we keep in mind?

  1. First aid should begin by escorting or moving the patient to a cool, darkened place. Leaving in the sun and heat will only worsen the bad condition.
  2. The second step is to remove or loosen tight clothing to cool the body and help regulate body temperature.
  3. If the face is red, place the patient in a semi-reclining position. If the patient has a pale face, make sure the head is below the torso.
  4. Cool compresses – both the head and chest should be covered with cool compresses made with water or ice.
  5. Measure body temperature – every 10 minutes you should take a temperature measurement and when it drops to 36 degrees Celsius you can stop the cooling process.
  6. Keeping the patient conscious – give him large amounts of cool, lightly salted water. It is important to apply it in small portions.
  7. No improvement in the patient’s condition – if the body does not return to normal, it is essential to call a doctor.


Main photo: estradaanton/

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