Dealing With & Avoiding Heatstroke

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The UK has experienced days of extremely high temperatures this summer and many forget how important it is to remain vigilant in hot weather. It is not just essential to look after your skin in the sun, but also the rest of your body. Staying hydrated and keeping cool is extremely important.

A large number of people forget the vitals, and can suffer from heat exhaustion and even the more serious heat stroke.

Heat stroke is dangerous to your body, and can occur due to more than just sitting in the heat. Many people do strenuous exercise during hot conditions which can result in heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which in turn has a negative effect on your health and wellbeing. Whilst heat exhaustion is a bad enough experience, heat stroke can result in death, so taking all precautions is imperative. It is less common to get heat stroke, but it can cause additional strain on the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Why does heat exhaustion/heat stroke occur?

When your body reaches high temperatures, it has the natural ability to cool itself down. However, when it reaches the high core temperature of 40°C degrees for adults, and 40.5°C for children, sometimes your body can fail and the cooling mechanisms can’t do their job. You are more at risk if you are elderly, pregnant or a young child. Animals are also at risk.

Health Shield takes you through the symptoms and preventions of heat stroke to ensure you don’t suffer and offers advice if you do.


  • Wearing loose fitting and lightweight clothing. This allows your body to keep cool
  • Drink plenty of water. The healthiest drink for you keeps your body cool and helps it to sweat and maintain a normal temperature
  • Do not sit in a parked car. Believe it or not this is much more common than you think, and it’s the most common cause of heat related deaths in young children. When in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise more than 6 degrees in 10 minutes
  • Remember the hottest times of the day. The hours of 11–3 are known as the hottest times of day, therefore limiting your time in the sun during these hours will help
  • Wearing appropriate sun cream with regular application
  • Regular cool showers
  • Some medications can also affect how your body reacts to heat – you may need to check this with your GP


  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  • Excessive sweating and clammy skin
  • Fast breathing

What to do if you or someone else is suffering:

  • Move to a cool place preferably with air conditioning
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Provide them with plenty of water
  • Lie or sit them down
  • Spray or sponge them with cool water – some experts suggest applying ice packs or wet towels to the head, neck, armpits and groin

Most people generally begin to feel better within 30 minutes. If not you will need to call 999. You will also need to call if they:

  • Feel hot and dry
  • Their temperature rises above 40°C
  • Have a seizure, are unresponsive or lose consciousness

A Health Shield Health Cash Plan can help you look after the health and wellbeing of your eyes in the sun with prescription sunglasses on our optical benefits. If you find yourself in the situation where you need advice after being in the sun, remember if you are a member of Health Shield you can call our virtual GP helpline. Ensure you check benefits are available on your plan before seeking treatment.