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Sun cream, charcoal and Pimms are flying off supermarket shelves. Summer is well and truly here.

We all know it’s important to drink water and slap on sun cream when the sun shines. But would you know what to do if someone had heat exhaustion or heat stroke?

If not, don’t worry – here are our first aid tips for staying safe in the heat…

Heat exhaustion
In hot weather, the body sometimes produces more heat than it can cope with. This leads to excessive sweating and the body loses salt and water. When this happens, people can suffer from headaches, dizziness and nausea.

If you act fast, the person will soon start to feel better with no long-term effects.

Treatment
Help the person to a cool, shady place and get them to lie down. Raise and support their legs to improve blood-flow to the brain.

Give them plenty of water to drink. Oral rehydration salts or isotonic drinks will also help.

Remove any excess clothes such as jumpers or coats.

Monitor and record their vital signs – level of response, breathing, pulse and temperature.

If their vital signs worsen, call 999 for emergency help.

Heatstroke
This is much more serious. When the body becomes dangerously over-heated, your brain’s ‘thermostat’ can malfunction and lose the ability to regulate body temperature. Cells inside the body start to break down and parts of the body stop working.

Heatstroke can develop with little warning – people often cease sweating and can lose consciousness within minutes, so you’ll need to react quickly.

Treatment
Quickly move the person to a cool place and remove as much outer clothing as possible. Call 999 for emergency help.

Help the person sit down and wrap them in a cold, wet sheet until their temperature falls to 38 degrees under the tongue or 37.5 degrees under the armpit. Keep pouring cold water over them or sponge them with cold water.

Once their temperature is normal, replace the wet sheet with a dry one.

Stay cool
Now you know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, you can be better prepared. Whether you prefer to spend sunny days in the sea, in a park or in a paddling pool, stay cool and safe so that you can enjoy the summer.