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The Telegraph

Heatstroke symptoms, treatments and how to keep cool in the hot weather

Long gone are the days where a British summer meant eating sand-flecked sandwiches on a rainy beach. The UK weather has changed dramatically and we can now expect heatwaves more often than before. While we can’t wait to run to the nearest park for a spot of sun-worshipping, there is the very real danger we could get heatstroke due to the extreme heat. Heatstroke is a serious condition that is commonly caused by hot weather or exercise. In this state, the body is no longer able to cool itself down and the temperature reaches dangerously high levels. The condition could affect anyone, but babies, young children, people over the age of 75 and those with underlying health conditions could be at greater risk, according to Public Health England. But fear not. We have investigated the heatstroke symptoms and treatments, as well as how long the condition lasts, so you can feel prepared and survive the heatwave. Heatstroke symptoms If you sit out in the sunshine for too long, you might experience “heat exhaustion“”. This is where you may start excessively sweating, feel dizzy or nauseous, lose your appetite, experience cramps in your legs, arms or stomach and feel extremely thirsty. For heat exhaustion, the NHS says your symptoms should clear within 30 minutes of cooling down. Heatstroke, on the other hand, is more dangerous (but, thankfully, less common). If you suspect you or a friend has heatstroke, you may need to call 999. There is cause for concern when you start to exhibit these more extreme symptoms, as they may be signs of heatstroke: Feeling confused Becoming unresponsive or losing consciousness Having a fit or seizure Feeling hot but not sweating Having a temperature above 40C Having rapid or irregular breathing If you are not feeling better within 30 minutes, this may also be a sign of heatstroke and you will need to seek emergency medical attention. The NHS recommends that you call 999 if you exhibit these symptoms. If you fear your friend is suffering from heatstroke, give them first aid and put them in the recovery position. Read more: How to keep cool in a heatwave Treatment: How to cool down If you think someone you know may be suffering from heatstroke, you can first try to cool them down. Move them to a cool place, raise their feet slightly, and get them to drink plenty of water (sports drinks should also work). It may also be worth cooling their skin down by dabbing them with a sponge or spraying them with cold water. It’s particularly useful to put such cold patches on the armpits and neck and then fan the moist areas.