Sun stroke is the result of prolonged exposure to excessive heat causing the temperature control system of the body to fail. Frequently combined with dehydration, sun stroke is often preceded by heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat syncope (fainting), but can just as easily strike without any prior warning.
People at risk of getting sun stroke
While sun stroke can affect anyone, some people are more at risk of getting sun stroke than others. This includes children under the age of four and adults above the age of 65, as well as people involved in strenuous activities (athletes, military personnel, manual workers) and people suffering from medical conditions including:
- Alcoholism, any conditions causing fever and diabetes
- Mental illness, high blood pressure and sickle cell trait
- Kidney, heart, or lung disease
- Sunburn, underweight or obesity
Medications that may also increase the risk of getting sun stroke include:
- Antihistamines, diet pills and diuretics
- Tranquilizers, sedatives and stimulants
- Blood pressure and heart medications (vasoconstrictors, beta-blockers)
- Seizure medications, anti-psychotics and antidepressants
Symptoms of sun stroke
Sun stroke symptoms include:
- Tiredness, weakness and feeling dizzy or faint
- Fast pulse, decreased blood pressure and headache
- Intense thirst, heavy sweating and muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinating less frequently and producing much darker urine than usual
Left untreated, sun stroke victims can develop more serious symptoms, including confusion, disorientation and seizures, loss of consciousness, comas and even death. In working environments, sun stroke could lead to potentially serious accidents at work.
Preventing sun stroke
Sun stroke can be prevented by:
- Staying in or moving to a cooler environment
- Having plenty of cold, alcohol- and caffeine-free drinks and avoiding hot drinks
- Eating cold foods with high water contents (fruit, salads)
- Taking a cool bath or shower
- Sprinkling water on skin or clothing or keeping a damp cloth at the nape (back of neck)
Employers must ensure workers are protected against injuries at work. This includes preventing employees getting sun stroke by ensuring working environments are kept at acceptable temperatures. Where this is not possible, such as at building sites or inside factories using machinery likely to increase temperatures above acceptable levels, regular breaks in cooler areas and access to cold drinks must be provided.
Employees suffering from sun stroke or injured by factory or construction site accidents as a result of prolonged exposure to excessive heat could be eligible to claim industrial injury compensation. Find out how to claim work injury compensation by calling us now on free phone 0800 689 0500 or mobile 0333 500 0993.
Date Published: December 9, 2015
Author: David Brown