Heatstroke: What to do and ways to prevent it

Megan Smith
 min read

Heatstroke is the most serious of heat injuries and can lead to serious complications or even death.

Heatstroke: What to do and ways to prevent itIt is an overheating of the body to the point where it becomes so dehydrated and loses its ability to regulate the body temperature, possibly causing damage to muscles, brain, kidneys, and heart.

Heatstroke: Introduction

It is tempting to spend long hours on the terrace or on the beach during the summer.

The hours fly by, and you may forget to protect yourself from the sun.

You may even fall asleep in one of these beach chairs for over 300 lbs while basking in the sun.

But sunburn can happen quickly, and its impact on your health is often overlooked.

But these painful sunburns can be relieved thanks to some tricks.

An extreme consequence of spending too much time in the heat is suffering a heatstroke which could be fatal.

What is a sunburn?

The solar rays that reach the earth’s surface are made of :

  • 50% of visible rays
  • 40% infrared rays
  • 10% of ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB, UVC)

Sunburn is a type of skin burn caused by exposure to the sun’s UVB rays, representing only 5% of UV rays.

A sunburn can cause different types of burns:

  • First degree burns: redness of the skin without blisters, surfacing between 6 and 24 hours after exposure
  • Superficial second degree burns: leads to blisters in the hours after exposure to the sun
  • Deep second degree burns: severe burns that result in blisters, possibly leaving scars

When we reveal ourselves to the sun, our skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn.

On the other hand, UVA rays have no immediate visible effects but penetrate deep into the skin.

There are also UVC rays, but they usually are stopped by the ozone layer.

Consequences of a sunburn

In addition to sunburn, long exposure to the sun is not without consequences:

  • early aging of the skin
  • skin cancers (melanoma)
  • lesions, reactivation of herpes labialis, dehydration, etc.

But don’t confuse sun allergies with sunburns! There are different forms of sun allergies:

  • benign summer lucite (sun allergy)
  • phototoxic and photoallergic reactions

Some tips to relieve a sunburn

If your skin turns red, it means you have a sunburn. Get in the shade and apply a damp compress to the skin.

Take a shower with warm water and use an after-sun product.

In case of sunburn, you must do the right things in the hours after exposure:

  • Apply a sedative ointment. Don’t wait to ask your pharmacist for advice on which lotion will be best for you
  • Drink plenty of water to rehydrate
  • If blisters appear on the skin, contact your doctor

In addition to these classic methods to relieve sunburn, there are also old-fashioned remedies:

  • rub the sunburn with a tomato
  • use Aloe Vera gel
  • apply a grated potato with lemon juice mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil
  • smear a thick layer of plain yogurt
  • cut a cucumber into thin slices and put them on the sunburn

However, It’s best to prevent than cure, so protect yourself from sunburn on the beach.

RelatedWhat are some health benefits of going to the beach?

Sunburn: how to protect yourself?

The risk of sunburn does not mean that you have to stay locked up all summer!

The sun allows us to make up for our lack of vitamin D and positively affects our mood. It would be a real pity not to take advantage of it.

It is crucial not to expose the skin and eyes for too long. Roasting for long hours on the beach is just not healthy.

If you spend a lot of time in the sun, make sure you have enough protection.

The following tips will help you:

  • Use a lip balm.
  • Wear good sunglasses. A covering model is ideal. Check for the CE quality mark followed by the filter percentage.
  • Don’t buy plastic lenses: they don’t provide UV protection.
  • Wear a cap or wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and neck.
  • Stay inside during the hottest hours. The sun is most harmful between noon and 3 pm.
  • Use sunscreen with a high protection factor. Apply in the shade 20 minutes before exposure.
  • Reapply sun cream every two hours.
  • Dry your skin immediately after swimming. Water drops are refreshing but strengthen the burning effect of UV rays.

What is a heatstroke?

Too much sun exposure could also lead to a heatstroke where you experience extremely high body temperature due to spending too much time spent in the sun.

This often goes hand in hand with fever, a splitting headache, and a general inability of the body to regulate your core temperature.

If you start feeling ill, find shelter immediately and find ways to cool yourself down.

If you cannot seem to cool down or suspect someone else is suffering a heatstroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Delaying emergency treatment could damage muscles, heart, kidneys, and brain. If left untreated, it could even lead to unconsciousness or death.

While awaiting medical help, do everything you can to bring down the body temperature: cold shower, tub of cold water, ice packs, wet towels, fans, ACs, etc.

Also start rehydrating the body by drinking water, avoiding alcohol, avoiding strenuous exercise, applying lip balm.

Related: What should I eat at the beach on a diet? Healthy foods

Heatstroke: Conclusion

While a heatstroke is the most serious of heat injuries, sunburns are more common and are often a contributing factor to a heatstroke.

Protecting yourself against sunburn is therefore a good way to help your body cool itself, this includes frequent application of sun cream, wearing a hat, and sunglasses.

In case you didn’t manage to escape the sunburn, you must treat it like a real burn to relieve and heal your skin.

Keep your skin out of the sun. Move into the shade and, if possible, cover all exposed parts of your body for several days when the redness appears.

Refresh the burned under cold water until the pain fades. For example, you can put a wet wipe on the area for a few hours to reduce the redness.

Provide your body with complete hydration by drinking plenty of water and applying a generous amount of healing cream to the area.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More