The ‘Great British Summer’ may not be known for its scorching climate or beaming sunshine, but it’s vital to be aware of the health risks that come with a heatwave or travelling to sunnier climes.
You’ve probably heard of heatstroke or sunstroke, but do you know the symptoms and causes? Heatstroke is extremely serious, and progresses from ‘heat exhaustion’ before becoming a case of emergency. Heat exhaustion is predominantly caused by dehydration, especially during hot weather or while exercising.
The signs of heat exhaustion are headaches, dizziness, nausea, sweating, clamminess, quick pulse, cramps and feeling thirsty. If you are spending time in the heat and feel any of these things, you need to cool down. Drink plenty of water, move to a shady, cool place and spray cold water on your skin. Take at least 30 minutes to allow your body to cool, lie down and raise your feet slightly and take some steady breaths. Shortly, you should feel much better. If you have a long-term health condition like diabetes or heart disease, be extra careful as these conditions can increase your risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heatstroke happens when the body reaches a point of no longer being able to cool itself down- a bit like a broken thermostat. This results in dangerously high body temperature which subsequently can cause seizures, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath and loss of consciousness. If you or someone else has the signs and symptoms of heatstroke, call 999 immediately, as heatstroke can cause coma or even death.
Living in the UK does not best prepare our bodies for hot weather, so we find it more difficult to acclimatise in higher temperatures. The best possible thing that you can do when spending time in hot weather is hydrate. Drink water, drink water-based drinks, drink sports hydration drinks, just ensure that you are drinking plenty- especially if you are exercising. Stay out of the sun during the peak of the day and remain in the shade whenever you can.
If you have any concerns about heat exhaustion, heatstroke or staying healthy in hot weather, speak to us in the pharmacy! We can offer lots of advice whether you’re staying at home or jetting off on holiday.
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