Sunstroke vs heatstroke: what’s the difference


June 29, Fineko/ Cases of solar and thermal shock occur as a result of excessive heating of the human body. Most often, solar and thermal shocks occur in children, adolescents and the elderly, because depending on the age of the human organism has certain physiological properties, and the system of regulation of internal temperature is not yet complete.

Solar shock occurs due to the expansion of the brain vessels under the influence of growing temperature as a result of direct sunlight on the head. The main signs of sunstroke are redness of the face, very severe headache and dizziness. After these signs, there is darkening in the eyes, nausea and in some cases vomiting. Often there is bleeding from the nose and visual impairment. If you do not provide first aid to the victim, he may experience loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and acceleration of the pulse.

Heatstroke is faster than solar shock. Heatstroke may occur without the sun: continuous work in warm and not air-permeable clothes, dehydration, long walking in hot weather or a few hours in a non-ventilated, stuffy room can cause heat stroke.

The main signs of heatstroke are general weakness, constant drowsiness, headache, dizziness. Following these signs, redness of the face is observed and in some cases - an increase in body temperature up to 40°C, dyspepsia, diarrhea, vomiting.

If up to this moment not to eliminate the causes of excessive fever, the suffered person may have hallucinations, delirium, then loss of consciousness, pallor of skin, cold skin, release of large amounts of sweat, violation of heart beats, frequent and weak pulse. If the victim is not given timely medical care, he may die.

How to help?

First aid is the same in both cases. You should immediately remove victim to fresh air, in the shade, in a cool and ventilated room, open the collar of clothes, and lay him on his back, slightly lifting his head. 

You should put a cold compress (wet bandage) on the head, wrap the body in wet cloth or spray the body of the victim with cold water, give him to drink large quantity of cold water.

In case of respiratory failure - to wet cotton wool with ammonia and gently bring it several times to the nose of the victim.

If the victim loses consciousness, his breath stops, and the pulse is not palpable, it is necessary not just to sit and wait for the doctor, but immediately make artificial respiration and closed heart massage to the victim.