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      Sunstroke and heatstroke

      Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski

      Spending too much time at a high temperature can cause dehydration. This can cause a sunstroke. A sunstroke can develop into a heatstroke. This is a life-threatening condition in which the body is unable to regulate its temperature.

      Symptoms of a sunstroke

      • headache
      • dizziness
      • nausea or vomiting
      • muscle cramps
      • fatigue
      • pale, clammy skin
      • dilated pupils
      • normal or slightly raised temperature    

      Symptoms of a heatstroke

      • headache
      • high fever, sometimes up to 41 °C
      • nausea
      • warm, dry, red skin
      • constricted pupils
      • a fast pulse and difficulty breathing

      Ultimately, confusion and loss of consciousness can occur. The risk is greater for young children, the elderly and people with health conditions.

      Prevention

      Water

      Drink plenty of water when it is warm, even if you are not thirsty.

      Sun

      Avoid the full sun.

      Intense exertion

      Avoid intense exertion at high temperatures.

      In case of symptoms

      Do you have symptoms that could be caused by a sunstroke?

      • Get out of the sun immediately and rest in a cool environment.
      • Cover exposed skin with wet, cool cloth/towels.
      • Rinse off any sun cream to allow the body to sweat more easily.
      • Drink plenty of water or a sports drink, taking small sips.  

      Do you have symptoms that could be caused by a heatstroke?

      Seek urgent medical advice. Call the travel assistance insurance during your trip for advice on reliable medical facilities.

      Try to cool down whilst waiting for assistance:

      • Get out of the sun.
      • Remove  excess clothing and cover the body with wet, cool cloth/towels.
      • Wet the cloth/towels again every five minutes.

      Drink or give the person small sips of water, but be wary of choking.  

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