Gone are the days when a British summer meant eating sand-speckled sandwiches on a rainy beach. The weather in the UK has changed dramatically and we can now expect heat waves more often than before.
While we can’t wait to run to the nearest park to worship the sun, there is a very real danger that we could get heat stroke due to the extreme heat.
Heat stroke is a serious illness that is usually caused by hot weather or exercise. In this state, the body is no longer able to cool itself and the temperature reaches dangerously high levels. The disease can affect anyone, but babies, toddlers, people over 75, and people with underlying health conditions could be at higher risk, according to Public Health England.
But fear not. We’ve looked at the symptoms and treatments for heat stroke, as well as the duration of the illness, so you can feel prepared and survive the heat wave.
What are the symptoms of heat stroke?
If you sit too long in the sun, you may experience “heat exhaustion”. This is where you may start to sweat excessively, feel dizzy or nauseous, lose your appetite, experience leg, arm, or stomach cramps, and experience extreme thirst.
For heat exhaustion, the NHS says your symptoms should go away within 30 minutes of cooling down. Heat stroke, on the other hand, is more dangerous (but, fortunately, less common). If you suspect that you or a friend is suffering from heat stroke, you may need to call 999.
When you start to have these more extreme symptoms, you should be concerned because they can be signs of heatstroke:
- Feel confused
- Become unresponsive or pass out
- Have a fit or fit
- Sensation of heat but does not sweat
- Have a temperature above 40C
- Have rapid or irregular breathing
If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, this could also be a sign of heatstroke and you will need to see an emergency doctor. The NHS recommends that you call 999 if you have these symptoms.
If you are worried that your friend is suffering from heat stroke, give them first aid and put them in the recovery position.
How to treat heat stroke and cool off
If you think someone you know is suffering from heat stroke, you can try to calm them down first. Move him to a cool place, raise his feet slightly, and give him plenty of water to drink (sports drinks should work too).
It may also be worth refreshing their skin by dabbing them with a sponge or spraying them with cold water. It is especially useful to put such cold patches on the armpits and neck and then to ventilate wet areas.