How to Treat Heat Stroke and Sunburn
Responding to the Risks
In the warm Australian climate, heatstroke and sunburn are not just discomforts; they can be serious health emergencies. Recognising and treating these conditions promptly can prevent severe health complications. This week, we focus on the crucial steps to take when faced with heatstroke or sunburn.
Emergency Response: Act Immediately
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call emergency services (000 in Australia) right away. While waiting for help, it's vital to start cooling them down.
Cooling Measures: Reducing Body Temperature
If the person is conscious, give them sips of cool fluid. Move them to a shady or air-conditioned area and remove any excess clothing. Sponge or spray their body with cool water, use wet towels or clothing, and apply cold packs to their cheeks, palms, and soles. If they are unconscious, place them on their side with their mouth down and chin up to ensure an open airway.
Soothing Strategies: Immediate Comfort
For sunburn, the first step is to get out of the sun immediately. Take a cool bath or shower to soothe the skin. Afterward, apply a moisturiser that contains aloe vera or soy to help trap water in the skin. Drinking extra water will help prevent dehydration and aid in healing.
Over-the-Counter Remedies: Additional Relief
For more severe sunburn, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help reduce pain and swelling. However, avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum, as they can irritate the skin or trap heat.
Conclusion: Prioritising Safety and Health
Treating heatstroke and sunburn quickly is crucial. While these tips can provide initial relief, they are not substitutes for professional medical advice, especially in severe cases. Always err on the side of caution and consult a healthcare provider for serious symptoms. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so stay informed and stay safe under the Australian sun.