First aid tips for summer – treating heatstroke

During the summer, there is a greater chance of people suffering from heatstroke, which can be very dangerous. With the right first aid training, you can learn how to spot the signs of heatstroke and provide valuable assistance to someone suffering from it.

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs because the brain’s thermostat fails, so it is unable to regulate the temperature of the body. This can happen due to prolonged exposure to heat (i.e. spending too long in the sun) or due to a high fever. A person with heatstroke can become dangerously overheated, causing them to feel unwell and possibly even fall unconscious with very little warning

Signs of heatstroke

You should watch out for the following signs:

  • Hot, flushed, dry skin
  • A full, fast pulse
  • A high body temperature (above 40°C)
  • Rapid deterioration in response levels
  • Headache
  • Discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness and confusion


Treating heatstroke

If you spot someone with heatstroke, you need to call for an ambulance right away. Then, you should move the person to a cool place and remove their outer clothing. Other things you can do to lower the person’s body temperature to normal levels (38°C) are to wrap him or her in a cold wet sheet, use a fan or a wet sponge. Whilst you try to cool the person down, you should also be checking their vital signs regularly.
Remember – the best way to prepare yourself for dealing with this kind of situation is to undergo first aid training.