You’ve spent a day on the Costa Caparica, in the blazing sun, with a little breeze to keep you cool… But back home you feel nauseous and feverish. It’s definitely sunstroke.

Ola, this is Dr Joy

Today we’re talking about sunstroke.


What is sunstroke?

Sunstroke, also known as heat stroke, is a condition resulting from excessive exposure to the sun without protection. It is a significant rise in body temperature, caused by a disruption of the thermoregulation mechanism: the rays induce an increase in the temperature of the head, neck and then the body.

The symptoms

The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition.

Common symptoms of sunstroke include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Pain and burning of the skin
  • Dry skin and dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and mental confusion
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse and rapid breathing
  • Weakness and fatigue

In the most severe cases, sunstroke can cause symptoms such as convulsions, vision problems, fainting and even comas. If you experience these symptoms or are concerned about excessive sun exposure, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

What are the treatments for sunstroke?

Start by getting out of the sun and moving to a cool, shady area. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and taking a bath or shower to help lower your body temperature.
Avoid taking aspirin painkillers as they can make the symptoms of sunstroke worse.
In the most severe cases of sunstroke, hospitalisation may be required for intravenous rehydration and close medical supervision. It is important to consult a health care professional if you experience severe symptoms or if symptoms do not improve after a few hours.

Preventing sunstroke:

Here are some ways to prevent sunstroke:
Avoid exposure to the sun during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 4pm).

Wear light coloured, lightweight clothing to cover your skin as much as possible.
Use a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from the sun.
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.

Apply sunscreen with a high protection factor (at least SPF 30) to all exposed areas of your skin.

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Avoid drinks such as alcohol or caffeine, as they can dehydrate your body.

Be especially careful to protect children and the elderly, who are more vulnerable to sunstroke.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice.
You must seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health condition.


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