Heat stroke – be careful in the sun

As the weather is warming up and we spend more time outside, it’s lovely to enjoy the sunshine. We need to remember to stay safe in the sun though, and there are some key ways to enjoy the sun safely when the sun is strong:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11-3
  • Cover up with a t-shirt, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Use at least SPF20 sunscreen, apply regularly and generously
  • Always have plenty to drink to stay hydrated. With hot weather. there is a risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke which are both potentially serious conditions caused when you get too hot. This normally occurs in very hot weather but it could happen from exercising. Those most at risk include the elderly, the very young, those who have underlying health problems, or those doing prolonged and strenuous exercise. Heat exhaustion is caused by becoming very hot and losing water and / or salt from the body. This can lead to feeling:
  • tired and weak
  • faint or dizzy
  • decrease in blood pressure
  • headache
  • muscle cramps
  • feeling and being sick
  • heavy sweating
  • intense thirst
  • a fast pulse
  • urinating less often and having much darker urine than usual 


If left untreated, heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke.


Heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high. It is less common than heat exhaustion, but more serious.


If you see signs of heat exhaustion, allow them to rest in a cool room or in the shade, and remove as much clothing as possible. Encourage plenty of fluids, such as cool water or an isotonic sports drink. You should find they recover within 30 minutes, seek medical attention if they do not recover within this time.


If they develop a severe headache; hot, flushed and dry skin (no sweating); is confused or losing consciousness, suspect heatstroke. Move them to a cool area, cool them rapidly by wrapping in a wet sheet and call 999. Remove the wet sheet when the temperature returns to normal and replace with a dry sheet and do not allow them to overcool.

 Written by Sophie McCracken 25th May 2017