Here in the Costa Cálida, we probably get more sun than most parts of Spain and if you are on the coast, the sun can be deceivingly strong.

Take extra care if you are on the beach as the sea breezes can disguise the fact that the sun is burning you. This is also the case if you spend a lot of time in the water. The sun is reflected off the water and burning can be extremely fierce, causing a lot of damage to your skin. Using sun block is essential, especially for young children and those of you with fair skin.

There are some precautions you can take to prevent the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, as everyone is at risk to a certain extent:

Stay in the shade as much as possible, so using a beach umbrella is a must and wearing a hat will also give you protection.

Drink plenty of water – don’t be fooled into thinking that any drink will help. Alcohol will make it worse and because you are losing liquid from your body through sweating, the alcohol can cause serious dehydration.

Be sensible when taking exercise – playing ball games on the beach is good fun, but this can cause light-headedness and possible muscle cramps if you do too much and don’t replace the liquids lost by drinking water.

If you suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, or you are obese, too much heat will increase your problems. Don’t think because you are on holiday that you must sit in the sun. It can take your body longer to adjust to the heat.

Those suffering from diarrhea or vomiting will already be dehydrated, so the heat will increase the condition and again drinking water will help.

Heat Exhaustion

This occurs during the hot weather or when exercising and is when the body loses too much liquid or salt. The body cools down by the blood vessels closest to the skin swelling and so making the sweat glands operate. A normal person will lose more than a litre a day by sweating and of course this increases during hot weather. The symptoms of Heat Exhaustion are:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness and feeling faint
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Cramps

All of these conditions are easily alleviated by moving to a cool place and drink cool, (not ice-cold) salty drink.

Heat Stroke

This condition is more serious than Heat Exhaustion and can be life-threatening. The body is unable to cope with cooling down and the sufferer may well develop a high temperature. Other symptoms may also occur such as:

  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Fits (in extreme cases)

This condition can be fatal if not treated immediately. Heart failure, kidney failure and slipping into a coma are possibilities in extreme cases, so hospitalization is normally the accepted procedure, where the person can be cared for using drips to administer fluids quickly.