Initial treatment should include:
• Take the patient out of the sun to a cooler place as soon as possible.
• Loosen their clothing or take it off for maximum cooling out of the sunlight.
• If possible, immerse the patient in cool water, a bath, a shower, or even a nearby stream or lake as long as it is safe. Don’t risk drowning them, or risk the victim being washed downstream on a strong current.
• If you can’t immerse them in water, cool them by spraying them with water and consider turning on any electric fans that may be available for maximum evaporation and cooling.
• If available, use cold compresses, such as ice wrapped in a tea towel applied to the head and neck area, as well as the armpits and groin for maximum cooling effect – but don’t overdo it.
• While doing this, summon professional medical assistance. Carry on with the above treatment until the ambulance or doctor arrives.
• Do NOT give any medication to lower a fever. It will not be effective and may cause further harm and complications.
• Avoid giving the patient water or anything else by mouth until the condition has been stabilised or until medical staff instruct you to give something to the patient.
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Stay out of the sun.
If you are not used to the heat and humidity, avoid any activity that requires you to work hard or play active sports in the sun and heat,
Be particularly careful with young or elderly people in a hot and sunny environment. Don’t underestimate the cumulative heat that can be experienced when walking in a canyon for example. The rock walls can reflect and retain the heat and turn a canyon into a natural oven.
Sunstroke and heat stroke – countermeasures
Dehydration is a real threat, which is more common than people realise. It can accompany heat-related illnesses such as sunstroke or heat stroke, as well as being a complication of prolonged attacks of diarrhoea, vomiting or fever Young children and people over the age of 60 are particularly susceptible to dehydration.
Everybody loses bodily water during the day, through sweat, tears and using the toilet. Normally that water is replaced by eating and drinking. If anyone has to work hard, hike, climb or play sports in a very hot or humid place they can easily upset the balance between water intake and water losses.
As you lose water you also lose essential body salts such as sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate and phosphate. Losing that water and those salts will upset your body chemistry, which results in a condition that is commonIv called dehydration.