First Aid

First Aid for Sunstroke

Sunstroke is a condition that can quickly go from dangerous to deadly, especially if proper care isn’t given immediately.

Sunstroke, sometimes called heatstroke or, more scientifically, hyperthermia, is a result of the body’s core temperature rising above safe limits. This causes the body’s necessary functions, such as metabolism, breath, and blood pumping, to stop working. Obviously, this can get pretty nasty pretty quick.

It’s usually pretty easy to avoid sunstroke, as long as the proper precautions are taken. All to often, though, they’re not. In that case, you need to act as quickly as possible to return that person’s body to a safe temperature. Here are a few tips to help treat sunstroke.

Call for Help

Call to get an ambulance as quickly as possible. This should be the first thing you do, especially if the sunstroked person has fainted. Also, call for assistance from anyone nearby if you’re in a public place. If there’s no one around, call someone nearby if they can get there sooner than an ambulance. Ask everyone to bring you as much water as possible, if there isn’t much nearby.

Get the Person to a Cooler Area

If there’s a building nearby, aim for that. Anywhere with plenty of air conditioning and water is ideal. If a building isn’t available, bring the person to a well shaded area.

Remove any Insulators

Remove as much of the person’s clothing as possible to maximize air circulation and sweat evaporation. Don’t worry about doing anything humiliating, a little modesty isn’t worth a life. Also if the person is wearing a hat or bandana, remove that as well. If the person has a lot of hair, tie it back and out of the way to keep it from trapping in heat.

Get the Water Flowing

If the person is still conscious, get him or her to sip liquid. Water is ideal, but really anything non alcoholic is better than nothing. If there’s a bathtub available, fill it with cool water and set the person in it. If you’re outside, and there’s a hose around, run water over the person’s body.

If your water supply is limited, you have to be more conservative with it. Dampen a rag, tower, or shirt and pat the person’s body with it. Focus on the face, neck, and chest. If any icecubes are available, rub them over the person’s body or leave them in places where heat collects, like the groin and armpit.

Fan the Person

Getting moving air over the person helps water evaporate and cools him or her down. Use anything, a towel or sheet, a shirt, your hands, or a piece of board. This is where having multiple people around really helps, as they can combine to fan the entire body.

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