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Too Much Sun is No Fun

Mid July usually means most of the nation is experiencing a heat wave, however, when summer temperatures soar, so do the number of heat related illnesses. According to the Centers For Disease Control, nearly 700 people die each year due to heat-related illness. Ranging from mild sunburn that can be self-treated, to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate emergency care, here’s a rundown on the most common heat related illnesses, along with ways to prevent them:


Sunburn can occur after spending as little as 15 minutes in the sun. Repeated sunburns result in permanent damage and premature aging of the skin. Treat sunburn by taking acetaminophen, rubbing aloe Vera lotion on the affected area and staying out of the sun for a few days.  


Symptoms of sunburn can be mild to severe and include:

  • Skin redness
  • Skin peeling
  • Itching
  • Fever and body aches 


Sun poisoning is the result of severe sunburn that can become fatal if left untreated.  It occurs from widespread and severe damage to the skin from the sun, and the affected skin typically involves a large portion of the body. People with fair skin and light hair are at greater risk of sun poisoning. Treatment usually involves intravenous fluids and hospital admission.  


Signs and symptoms of sun poisoning include:

  • Skin redness and blistering
  • Skin pain and swelling
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration



Heat stroke, the most serious heat related illness, is a life-threatening medical condition that is the result of prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and dehydration. Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature rises to dangerous levels rapidly, sometimes to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes, and is unable to cool down on its own. Heat stroke can cause heart and brain damage and even result in death. People who work in extremely hot temperatures, infants and the elderly are most at risk for heat stroke.


Symptoms and signs of heat stroke include:


  • Hot, dry skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills and a fever
  • A throbbing headache
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Slurred speech. lack of sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures


A person suffering from heat stroke requires immediate emergency care. Treatment   involves active cooling of the body, intravenous fluids, and correction of any body chemistry abnormalities and may include sedation and hospitalization.


Preventing Heat Related Illnesses 


  • Limit sun exposure and avoid being in the sun during the peak hours of 10am and 4pm
  • Wear protective clothing such as a wide brimmed hat, UV protected sunglasses and clothing, and shirts with sleeves that cover the arms
  • Be aware that sunburn can occur on a cloudy day
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated


Fortunately, most heat related illnesses can be prevented by avoiding strenuous activity in hot, humid environments, staying hydrated, and covering up.  If you suspect sun poisoning or heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately to avoid permanent damage.  For more information about symptoms and treatment of heat related illnesses, or to locate the closest medical provider, download the free mobile app iTriage from your mobile phone or go to our website at


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