Overheating: Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunstroke
The current temperatures invite you to spend as much time as possible outdoors. But be careful: longer stays in the sun can easily lead to overheating. A sunstroke can also turn into a dangerous heat stroke. Experts explain how to prevent.
The power of the sun is often underestimated
In the current heat, most people stay outside in the garden, on the balcony or even on the beach. Unfortunately, the health risks from sun exposure are often underestimated. Those who stay in the sun for too long can get a sunstroke. Because this can also lead to a dangerous heat stroke, it is important to take suitable measures.
Signs of sunstroke
A badly reddened and heated head is a typical first sign of a sunstroke, the health insurance company DAK Gesundheit explains on its website.
There are also headaches and usually nausea.
A stiff neck can also indicate a sunstroke.
In addition, some sufferers have to deal with restlessness, dizziness, ear pain or noise.
In children, sunstroke often leads to increased temperature or fever.
In most cases, the symptoms persist for several hours - experience has shown that babies and the elderly recover slowly from sunstroke.
Important to know: The tricky thing is that the symptoms can only appear with a time delay, i.e. several hours after staying in the sun, explains the DAK Gesundheit.
When the sun shines freely on the back of the head
According to the health insurance, there is an increased risk of sunstroke if the sun shines freely on the back of the head.
It is therefore risky to take a nap on your stomach in the midday sun, for example.
A long hike, physical work outdoors or a drive in a convertible without headgear can also be dangerous.
What affected people can do
When symptoms of sunstroke occur, it means: get out of the sun immediately!
As a first aid measure, the head and neck should be cooled with a damp cloth.
The experts also advise you to rest - preferably with your upper body slightly elevated - and to drink enough water.
It is not advisable to take an ice-cold bath or shower, as this would put a great strain on the circulation.
If fever, an increased heart rate or impaired consciousness occur, an emergency doctor should be called immediately. These symptoms indicate a dangerous heat stroke, which must be treated immediately by a doctor.
Avoid such a sunstroke
According to the DAK Gesundheit, the following measures help to protect yourself from a sunstroke:
- For longer stays in the sun always wear headgear - preferably a sun hat with a brim.
- Avoid the midday sun completely.
- Drink enough liquid - two to three liters of water or unsweetened tea a day.
- Wear light, airy linen or cotton clothing.
- Prefer light food - the body also produces heat when digesting hearty meals.
- Avoid alcohol completely in the sun.
- Always go to shade or cool rooms.
The health insurance company has other tips that should be observed in order to enjoy your next vacation to the fullest.
Since people with bald or light hair and small children are particularly at risk, they should avoid the blazing sun.
Sunscreens do not protect against sunstroke because they do not block the long-wave heat rays that cause overheating.
Even if exercise is healthy: no sweaty sport should be practiced in the blazing sun.
Be careful when staying in the mountains: The sun is particularly intense in the mountains, while the ambient temperature is often perceived as cool - this increases the risk of sunstroke.
And even a long stay on the beach poses special dangers, because if you go swimming and keep cooling your head again and again, you won't notice that you've long overheated. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Sunstroke: How to prevent properly