Heat stroke warning: Four key moves if youve had too much sun

Heatstroke: Dr Hilary gives his advice for sufferers

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PHE’s Dr Owen Landeg warned: “The summer heat can bring real health risks.” Those most vulnerable to the extremely hot weather conditions include older people, those with underlying health conditions, and young children. Signs of too much sun include: a headache, dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, nausea, and fast breathing – just to name a few. The NHS pointed out that heat exhaustion needs to be taken seriously.

If you do not cool down within 30 minutes, it has turned into heatstroke which is an “emergency”.

As soon as you notice signs of heat exhaustion in yourself, or others, there are four key moves you need to do.

Firstly, you need to move into a cool place in the shade – or guide the affected person into a shady spot.

Secondly, the person affected needs to lie down with their feet slightly raised.

The next step is to drink plenty of water; sports or rehydration drinks are okay too.

Then it’s important to cool the skin, either by spraying cold water on it or using a cool, wet sponge to dampen the skin.

Do utilise a fan if you have one, and place cold packs around the armpits or neck.

People suffering from heat exhaustion should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

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If heat exhaustion extends past 30 minutes, even after the cool-down approach, you need to call for an ambulance.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
  • Not sweating even while feeling too hot
  • A high temperature of 40C or above
  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • Feeling confused
  • A fit (seizure)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Not responsive.

If the person affected loses consciousness while waiting for paramedics to arrive, they need to be put into the recovery position.

The recovery position

The recovery position is vital in keeping the unconscious person’s airways open and clear from any vomit or fluid that could cause them to choke.

The NHS instructs you to follow these steps:

  1. With the person lying on their back, kneel on the floor at their side.
  2. Extend the arm nearest you at a right angle to their body with their palm facing up.
  3. Take their other arm and fold it so the back of their hand rests on the cheek closest to you, and hold it in place.
  4. Use your free hand to bend the person’s knee farthest from you to a right angle.
  5. Carefully roll the person onto their side by pulling on the bent knee.
  6. Their bent arm should be supporting the head, and their extended arm will stop you rolling them too far.
  7. Make sure their bent leg is at a right angle.
  8. Open their airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin, and check that nothing is blocking their airway.
  9. Stay with the person and monitor their condition until help arrives.
  10. How to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke
  11. It will help to drink plenty of cold drinks when there’s a heatwave.
  12. It’ll also be helpful to take cool baths and showers, avoid excess alcohol, or extreme exercise.

When it comes to clothing, it’s better to wear light-coloured, loose clothing, and to sprinkle water over your skin and clothes.

In general, it’s best to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm by being in the shade.

These measures will help to prevent dehydration and help to keep the body cool.

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