A Guide For First Aid In The Sun
Summer is here, and the temperature is rising! Everyone will be in a hurry to get out into it however, safety is majorly important when it comes to the sunshine. Sure Vitamin D is good for us, however sunbathing can cause serious health issues.
During the summer months, it’s vital you watch out for any symptoms of heat exhaustion. If not treated or prevented it can lead to something more severe like heat stroke which requires medical attention. Heat exhaustion is preventable if the necessary actions are taken:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Take regular cool showers/baths
- Wear light clothing
- The sun is hottest during the hours of 11am-3pm so avoid being outdoors during this time
- Avoid excessive exercise
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol
- Protect your skin with SPF
Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include:
- Dizziness and confusion
- Headache and limb ache
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea & vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Paler in complexion
- Increased heart rate & fast breathing
- A temperature of 38+ degrees celsius
- Increased thirst
Things you can do if you suspect someone may be experiencing heat exhaustion:
- Move them into a cool place, preferably inside away from direct sunlight
- Position them lying down with their feet in a raised position
- Rehydration is key, water is best however sports drinks with electrolytes are also ok
- Cooling the body temperature, spraying water on the skin or sponging it and a fan is also good.
This can be as a result of heat exhaustion, if the person is not treated. Heat stroke is a lot more severe and is an emergency. To avoid Heat stroke follow the same steps as you would for heat exhaustion and make sure to be extra cautious if you are elderly or for young children.
Symptoms of Heat stroke may include:
- Extremely high core body temperature of 40+ degrees celsius (you can check this with an internal thermometer)
- Change in behaviour or altered state of mind
- Nausea & vomiting
- Red/pink complection or looking flushed
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Increase in heart rate and pulse
If you or someone you are with start to show signs of severe heat exhaustion or heat stroke make sure to ring 999 immediately.
Sunburn can be uncomfortable and painful depending on how bad the burn is. It also can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Actions you can take to prevent sunburn:
- Try and stay in the shade or indoors between 11am-3pm
- Wearing light clothing that covers your body & wide brimmed hat
- Applying sun cream that is SPF 30+ and reapplying regularly throughout the day
- It’s important to protect your eyes with sunglasses
Sunburn can be treated easily from home, however if there are signs of blistering or feeling unwell seek medical help. If the burn is red on the skin, sponge it down with a cold sponge or have a cool shower then moisturise it with aloe vera or aftersun. You can also take painkillers to reduce any swelling or pain.
Vulnerable people in the sun
Some people are more at risk of being out in the sun, this can include:
- Pale skin
- Fair hair, freckles
- Medically related skin disorders
- Someone with a family history of skin cancer