Sunstroke is a special case of a heatstroke that occurs due to a continuing impact of direct sun rays. As a result of overheating the diameter of the head blood vessels expands that increases a blood flow to the brain.
Doctors outline mild, moderate and severe forms of the sunstroke. Each form has its own symptoms
A moderate form is characterized by a sudden weakness and a headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Stupor, lack of movement and a short-term loss of consciousness are also observed. A skin is wet because sweating is increased. The body temperature rises up to 40°C. If therapeutic measures were initiated in time, the organism functions normalize in several days.
A severe form starts sharply with the confused consciousness, sometimes it may lead to coma. Convulsions, delirium, hallucinations are observed in an overwhelming majority of cases. Breathing and pulse are frequent and arrhythmic. The skin is hot and dry. The body temperature is over 41°C and has a tendency to rise. Up to 30% of cases end with the patient’s death, so it’s very important to organize a correct medical aid to increase the chances to survive.
A mild form is characterized by a muscle weakness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and tachycardia. The body temperature is normal and skin changes aren’t observed. It’s very easy to treat the disorder on this stage. If the comfortable recovery conditions are created for a patient as soon as possible, all the aforementioned symptoms disappear rapidly.
Rapid Heartbeat and/or Rapid Breathing. When your body overheats, its systems begin to shut down. This failure is often signaled by an erratic heartbeat, either strong or weak. Rapid, shallow breathing may also occur, either on its own or in conjunction with an increased heart rate. If you feel like your heart is racing and/or you can’t catch your breath, you should seek help immediately. Getting out of the sun and bringing down your core temperature with cold cloths or ice packs in the armpits and groin, or a cold bath or shower is a good first step. However, an increased heart rate and difficulty breathing are both potentially serious and should be addressed by a healthcare professional.
Confusion/Disorientation. Too much sun can have a similar effect as too much alcohol. People with sunstroke may seem confused or disoriented, and may even stagger or slur their words. While you should pay attention to any sign of sunstroke and get out of the sun at the first indication, behavior changes can be a sign that something is really wrong. Like increased heart rate and rapid breathing, disorientation can have serious consequences. Get out of the sun, drink water, and try to reduce your core temperature with a cold bath or shower, or by placing ice packs around the core (back, armpits, and groin). If the confusion worsens or doesn’t pass, contact a healthcare professional.
Loss of Consciousness. The most severe sign of sunstroke is the loss of consciousness. This could be a brief fainting spell or a more prolonged state of unconsciousness. Usually, someone with sunstroke will exhibit signs prior to losing consciousness. That’s why it’s important to get out of the sun and begin treatment at the first sign. Loss of consciousness is serious and is usually a sign of severe sunstroke. Left untreated, it can lead to death. If you faint, seek help immediately. If you’re with someone who loses consciousness, call 911 for assistance, and ask the attendant what you can do to assist the person until help arrives.
Treatment and Prognosis for Sunstroke. The good news is that sunstroke is generally treatable and rarely causes permanent damage if caught early. Although extreme heat can be fatal, especially in the very old, the very young, or the physically compromised, there are usually warning signs long before the situation becomes dire. At the first sign of sunstroke or heat stroke, get somewhere shady or dark and cool, and begin drinking water. Apply cold cloths to the neck, back, armpits, and/or groin to help lower core temperature. Better yet, prevent sunstroke by limiting sun exposure, using sunscreen and protective clothing (long sleeves/pants, sunglasses, hat), and staying hydrated. Avoid beverages with caffeine or alcohol, which can actually dehydrate you, and take it easy—a hot, humid day is no time for a strenuous workout!