Risk of sunstroke and heat collapse

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When too much sun hits your health

Those who stay in the sun for too long can get a sunstroke, heat collapse or heat stroke. Babies in particular should therefore be protected from the sun. Professor Peter Sefrin, federal doctor at the German Red Cross, explains in the "Pharmacy Survey" what differences there are and what to do in an emergency.

Beware of heat collapse and sunstroke The so-called sunstroke develops when the head and neck area are exposed to too much solar radiation. As Professor Peter Sefrin reports to the newspaper, infants and people with light hair are particularly affected. Direct sunlight warms the head, causing the brain to swell. "The increasing pressure in the brain irritates the meninges, which is reflected in headaches, nausea and neck stiffness," explains the expert. Sufferers should be brought to a cool, shady place immediately and stored flat, with their heads high. The neck and forehead could be cooled with wet towels. "As a rule, hospitalization is necessary for children," explains Sefrin. A few hours later, small children may experience a fever and sudden vomiting. Even then, the emergency services should be called.

According to Sefrin, severe liquid and mineral loss can lead to heat collapse. The need for fluids increases especially during physical activity. If the body is still not supplied with any liquid, the body temperature rises and the vessels widen so that the blood sinks into the legs. As a result, the blood pressure may drop and the patient may lose consciousness. If heat collapse is suspected, the affected person should be brought into a “shocked position” with raised legs and the fluid loss should then be compensated for.

Ice-cold showers can be life-threatening in the event of a heat stroke. As Sefrin explains, the heat stroke is even more dangerous. The body temperature rises to over 40 degrees due to a build-up of heat. The first symptoms in those affected were weakness, dizziness, drowsiness and nausea. Then action should be taken quickly by opening constricting clothing and cooling the body with wet towels. Ice-cold showers are, however, taboo, since in the worst case they can cause unconsciousness and fighting and put the person concerned in a life-threatening state. "The unconscious person has to be moved to a stable side position and the emergency services must be informed immediately," explains the expert.

Avoid heat and direct sunlight. Especially with babies, parents should make sure that the children are neither overheated nor exposed to direct sunlight. Because in addition to a sunstroke, there are also serious sunburns. How the “Sun Protection? Sonneklar! ”Informs, there is a general ban on sunbathing for babies under 12 months of age. Only in the second year of life can the little ones have adequate sun protection from time to time in the sun. However, children's sun protection creams with a high sun protection factor only have a limited effect on small children, because the midday sun between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. is particularly intense and should therefore be avoided by two-year-old children. The little ones do not yet have fully functional natural sun protection, so that with every sunburn the risk of skin cancer increases in the later years of life. (ag)

Also read:
Germany is at risk of heat collapse
What to do in high heat

Photo credit: Hartmut910 / pixelio.de

Author and source information

Video: What happens when you get heat stroke? - Douglas J. Casa


  1. Kagagor

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