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Sunstroke

 

Sunstroke is a medical emergency caused by over heating of the body especially in extremely hot and humid conditions.

Causes

  • Prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Overheating of the body due to strenuous physical activity
  • Inability of the body’s cooling system to function properly
  • Dehydration
  • Consumption of alcohol

Symptoms

  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Disorientation
  • Incoherent speech
  • Hallucination
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

Treatment

Sunstroke is life threatening and medical help should be called for immediately. First aid should include:

  • Moving the individual to a cool area
  • Removing constricting clothing
  • Making the individual drink lots of cool drinks especially water
  • Giving cool water bath
  • Applying cold water towels to the skin

Prevention

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid very hot sun
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages
  • Avoid overstraining the  body in extreme heat
  • Wear light and loose clothing preferably cotton
  • Keep the head covered while moving out in very hot sun