Sunstroke: Recognizing and Treating Symptoms

Whether in the open-air swimming pool, on the beach or at the festival: in sunny summer months the masses cavort here in the blazing sun. But it is not only beautiful: Besides burnt skin, there is also the notorious threat of sunstroke. Especially with the ever-increasing temperatures everywhere, the danger is growing rapidly.

The sunstroke is not only an annoying side effect of fine weather, it is actually a danger to your health. This is the best way to deal with it.

Sunstroke: What is it, anyway?

Continuous direct sunlight on the head and neck can actually affect the brain and cause sunstroke. This is because the intense heat irritates your brain and especially the meninges.

If the hat is not enough, it is best to find a shady place before sunstroke strikes! © Maridav /

This can trigger inflammatory reactions, the brain may even swell. With UV -radiation has nothing to do with it, by the way. It’s not enough to be well-creamed for sunstroke.

Important in hot weather: Drink properly! So goes’s

How do I recognize sunstroke?

A classic symptom of sunstroke is the red head. If other complaints such as inner restlessness, nausea, headaches and even ringing in the ears are added, things become clearer. Then you should become very attentive at the latest.

Also typical for sunstroke are clouding of consciousness, but also pain in the neck up to neck stiffness. It is pointless to feel the forehead of the affected person, because fever is usually not present in people suffering from sunstroke.

Sunscreen is of course extremely important, but it does not protect against sunstroke. © Maridav /

How do I treat sunstroke?

First commandment: Get out of the sun and into the shade immediately. Lie there quietly, upper body slightly raised, cool your head, for example with wet cloths or a cool pack. If necessary, a bottle from the refrigerator will do. Of course also important: drink, preferably water, not too cold. Then you should rest until the symptoms subside.

Often those affected feel better after just a few hours, others have to deal with it for up to two days. It depends on the person and how badly you are affected. If you have severe symptoms and permanent discomfort, you should definitely see a doctor.

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What is the difference between sunstroke and heat stroke?

The latter is even more dangerous. If affected people vomit heavily or appear mentally absent, this could be a sign of heat stroke. Other symptoms include reddened, dry skin all over the body, a high pulse, fever and total fatigue.

If this is suspected, a doctor must be called immediately or the person concerned must be taken to the nearest emergency ward by another person. There is no time to lose!

Always important in hot weather: Cool down and drink enough water! © Maridav /

How can I prevent sunstroke?

If possible stay in the shade when it is hot, avoid direct sunlight. And it is best to wear a hat or cap when out in the sun. Always drink regularly, preferably water in small sips.

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You can double the normal amount of liquid (1.5 to 2 litres) in hot weather. For purely rational reasons, you should not do sports in the blazing sun or otherwise completely exhaust yourself.

A sunstroke is no fun, but an alarm signal of the body for overheating, so off to the shade! If heat stroke is suspected, seek medical attention immediately!