Chris Neil, President of the the English-Speaking Healthcare Association https://eshaspain.org/ outlines some sensible advice to avoiding heatstroke in Spain
As temperatures soar for the summer months its worthwhile taking time to look at the downside of too much sun with dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer, heat exhaustion and heatstroke being the main issues we face. Heat stroke is a very serious side-effect of too much sun and last year there were 18 fatalities from it in Spain.
If acted upon in timely manner heatstroke in itself is not a serious problem though it is essential to bring the persons body temperature down as quickly as possible.
The signs that someone is suffering from heat exhaustion include:
- Dizziness and confusion
- Loss of appetite and feeling sick
- Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
- Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
- Accelerated pulse or breathing
- Corporal temperature above 38C
- Being very thirsty
If you see these symptoms there are some things you can do
- Move them to the shade or a cool place that has air conditioning
- Lie them on their back and slightly raise their feet
- Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports drinks are OK, but alcohol is no good as it will dehydrate them even more.
- Cool their skin, especially on the wrists where the main arteries are near the surface, with sponges or damp towels
If after 30 minutes the person is still unresponsive, this may be a case of heatstroke and you should look out for the following symptoms.
- They feel hot and dry to the touch
- Even though they are hot, they are not sweating
- Their temperature has risen to above 40C
- Rapidness or shortness of breath
- They start convulsing
- They lose consciousness
You should call an ambulance and put them in the recovering position until it arrives
Preventing heat exhaustion and heatstroke is fairly easy if you follow these simple rules
- Stay out of direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, usually between 2pm and 6pm
- Drink plenty of fluids, the recommended amount is between 2- 2.5 litres per day
- Take a cool shower or bath during the day
- Wear light-coloured loose-fitting clothing
- Wear a hat
- Sprinkle water on skin or clothes
- Avoid extreme sport
- Avoid excessive alcohol
The most vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the elderly and young children, so it is especially important to keep an eye on them.
Enjoy the summer and stay cool!