The Great British Heatwave

Heatwave

How to stay on top form and reduce chances of heatstroke

This week we are seeing temperatures soar to up to 37C in some parts of the country. British summer time usually sees highs of around 27C, this incredible 10C increase will see many of us struggling to sleep, losing our appetites and dehydrating. How can you keep on top of staying cool during the record-breaking heatwave? We look into how to reduce your chances of heatstroke and dehydration this weekend in the summer sun.

Heat exhaustion and Heatstroke

Caused by your body temperature rising to over 40C heatstroke is usually caused by overexposure to the sun. Excessive environmental heat has major effects on the human body, knowing the signs of heat exhaustion could save someone you love.

Heat exhaustion is usually not serious; however, it can be extremely dangerous especially to the young and elderly. Spotting heat exhaustion is the key to avoiding a more serious case such as Heatstroke which can lead to seizures and even death if left untreated. How can you look for the signs of heat exhaustion and stop Heatstroke in its tracks?

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Moist skin with goosebumps when in heat

You are most at risk of developing heat exhaustion when you are in a humid, hot place, or while taking part in strenuous physical activity under direct sunlight. The best way to address heat exhaustion is to simply remove yourself from direct sun and heat. If you leave heat exhaustion to develop you may be at risk of Heatstroke – a more serious health concern, being aware of the side effects will help you judge when to be seen by a doctor urgently.

Symptoms of Heatstroke:

  • Temperature of 40C +
  • Unusual behaviour including; confusion, irritability and delirium
  • Vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Significantly increased heart rate
  • Headache Unconsciousness

Heatstroke with the young and elderly can be life threatening and must be diagnosed and treated with urgency. Infants and the elderly do not adjust to sudden changes in temperature well, this causes a rapid onset of side effects and heat related illnesses. An infant with a temperature of 40C and above is at high risk of febrile seizures due to overheating, there is no way to predict a febrile seizure. You can reduce the risk of a seizures by seeking medical attention urgently if you spot the above symptoms.

How can you stay cool?

The only way to avoid heat exhaustion and Heatstroke is to help your body temperature remain cool. We have looked into the best ways you can keep cool, to help you over the heatwave weekend!

  • Move to a cool place: Although it is glorious summer weather, too much sun is a risk! If you start to feel dehydrate and sleepy while bathing in the sun, we suggest taking a break from the direct sunlight and seeking shade inside for at least 45 minutes.
  • Take a lukewarm shower: Stay away from ice cold baths and showers, these will only increase your body temperature. The best way to cool down in the shower is to have a cool to lukewarm shower and dry yourself with a light cotton towel.
  • Drink plenty: Stay hydrated at all points of the day! Try your best to drink plenty in the morning and especially throughout the night to reduce temperature.
  • Dress lightly: You don’t have to reduce the amount of clothes you wear but simply make better choices with regards to the materials you pick! Light cotton is the best pick during heatwaves and always try to keep it loose fitting.
  • Chill your bed sheets: Sticking your sheets in the freezer inside a plastic bag is sure to cool you down at bedtime. Make sure you use cotton sheets and place them in the freezer for three minutes just before you settle down. You will feel instantly cooled and refreshed at bedtime.
  • Ease into it: Don’t instantly go out into the scorching heat, it is best to ease yourself into the change over the space of two weeks. If you usually have an afternoon run swap this for early morning or early evening to make the adjustment to exercise in hot weather.
  • Reduce the coffee: Caffeine naturally increases your body temperature, instead of opting for an iced latte, why not try an iced smoothie and cool down quicker!

Enjoy the sun responsibly

It’s very easy to overdo it in the sun and enjoy the heatwave a little too much. The tips and tricks we have shared with you are sure to keep you cool, so you can enjoy the summer for longer without any nasty surprise hospital visits.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with the heat this week, why not speak to a doctor now via the fantastic alldayDr app and make sure you stay safe this sunny weekend.

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