Sunstroke is a type of heatstroke due to sun exposure. It happens with prolonged exposure of the body to hot temperature, resulting to the rise of body temperature to 105 F or higher. Elderly people, babies, working in hot environments and obese people are susceptible to this condition. People who are diabetic, have problems with kidney and heart diseases are also at a high risk of developing sunstroke.
Symptoms of sunstroke
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of consciousness
- A body temperature of 102 degrees F
- Signs of shock such as the lips and fingernails becoming bluish and confusion
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- Weak heartbeat, nausea, lethargy, vomiting and dark urine
- In some cases, the affected person may collapse, becomes agitated and even end up with cardiac arrest. Start CPR if needed. Deliver 30 chest compressions before checking the airways and rescue breaths.
- Keep the affected person calm. Lessen the agitation by making him/her breathe deeply.
- If seizures arise, clear the surroundings of the affected person to prevent further injury. Place a pillow under the head to prevent accidentally banging his/her head on the ground during convulsions.
- Move the person to a shady and cool area preferably an air-conditioned room. Remove clothing and give the person a cool bath or shower. Place a cool and wet face cloth on the back of the neck, under the armpits and on the groin. Another alternative is mist and fan the affected person to have promote evaporative cooling.
- Massage the muscles for proper flow of blood in the area. It also prevents muscle cramping which is an early symptom of sunstroke and usually the calf are affected.
- Avoid giving medication for fever such as aspirin or acetaminophen to prevent severe bleeding and worsen the condition.
- Avoid giving anything on the mouth if the affected person is vomiting or unconscious to prevent accidental choking.
- Let the person sip Gatorade to replenish the lost fluids and electrolytes due to sweating. Avoid making the person drink quickly to prevent shock.
- Drink plenty of liquids especially water to prevent dehydration.
- Minimize direct exposure to sunlight. If working outside, look for shady areas. Wear hats if susceptible to sunstroke.
- Avoid sitting inside a hot car. Avoid leaving small children inside the car even for a few minutes.
- Avoid performing exercises outside during the peak sun hours from 11:00 am to 3:00pm.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks outdoors during hot days.
The details posted on this page on sunstroke is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this heat-related illness, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.