AF­TER-SUN CARE for heat­stroke and sunburn

Pre­ven­tion is best, but when too much time in the sun leads to heat­stroke or sunburn, here’s what you can do about it.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Baby, it’s hot out­side! Gor­geous long sum­mer days give us more time to re­lax out­doors, en­joy­ing the beach, the wa­ter, bar­be­cues and catch­ing up with friends. It’s also time to be sum­mer smart. UV lev­els are at their high­est ever, mean­ing it’s vi­tally im­por­tant to pro­tect your skin and your eyes. Sunburn and heat­stroke are the two most danger­ous con­di­tions caused by over­ex­po­sure to the sun. Of course, the best way to avoid both is to limit your time in the sun, use plenty of sun­block, and wear pro­tec­tive cloth­ing and sun­glasses. But if you ac­ci­den­tally get caught in the sun a lit­tle too long, there are ways to ease the dis­com­fort.


WHAT IS IT? Heat­stroke, or hy­per­ther­mia, re­sults from pro­longed ex­po­sure to high tem­per­a­tures. It can hap­pen, for ex­am­ple, when we fall asleep on a lounger in the sun, or spend all day out­doors at the beach, or it can af­fect chil­dren if they are left in a hot car. It is a con­di­tion that oc­curs when the body’s cool­ing mech­a­nisms are over­come by heat, re­sult­ing in a core tem­per­a­ture of over 40°C. Heat­stroke is pre­ceded by signs of heat ex­haus­tion, such as headaches, dizzi­ness and weak­ness, and can re­sult in un­con­scious­ness and organ fail­ure. It can even be fa­tal.

DI­AG­NO­SIS: It’s im­por­tant to take heat­stroke se­ri­ously. See a doc­tor if you are feel­ing un­well. Doc­tors can usu­ally tell whether you are suf­fer­ing from heat­stroke, but lab tests can also con­firm the di­ag­no­sis, de­ter­mine any dam­age to or­gans or rule out other con­di­tions.

TREAT­MENT: This usu­ally cen­tres on cool­ing your body to nor­mal tem­per­a­ture to pre­vent or re­duce dam­age to your brain and vi­tal or­gans. A bath of cold or ice wa­ter is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of quickly low­er­ing core body tem­per­a­ture. Another method is to wrap pa­tients in a spe­cial cool­ing blan­ket and ap­ply ice packs over their body to re­duce their tem­per­a­ture.


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