How lovely it is to be sitting here looking out over our stunning countryside bathed in sunshine.  This week has shown that the UK can come up trumps and deliver some truly glorious weather. We are now about to hit the holiday season, trips to the beach and lazing in the garden.  These things are great and more often than not go without a hitch, but it is wise to know how to help if someone has ‘too much of a good thing’.

Sunburn can be very painful and can creep up on you without you noticing, so it is important to wear sun cream when you’re out and about in the summer, even if it doesn’t seem too hot.  It is more dangerous for children so use a high factor formula for them that has both UVA and UVB protection.  Should you still get burnt, get yourself into the shade and cool down.  Flannels or towels drenched in cold water will help to reduce the pain and stop the progression of the burn.  If you would normally take them, some over-the-counter painkillers will help.  Be careful not to exceed the correct dose and remember they should not be in a workplace first aid kit.  Once the burn has been thoroughly cooled some after sun cream will help the skin to recover, but again, this should not be kept at work.  If the sunburn is over a large percentage of the body or is blistering medical help should be sought.

You could find that a person with sunburn may also be suffering from heat exhaustion.  You will recognise this from some or all of the following - a headache, pale sweaty skin, dizziness, confusion, nausea, cramps and rapid breathing.  This casualty should be taken to a cool place and any excessive clothing removed (with their permission of course!).  Encourage them to lie down and give them water or, if available, oral rehydration solution to sip.  They should take as much as they can, but in small frequent sips so as not to make them vomit.  They may need their head supporting so they can drink comfortably, or find a straw!  Even if they seem to recover fully they should be checked over by the medical professionals just to make sure they are not developing heat stroke.  As with any casualty, if they become unconscious check their breathing and if normal place in the recovery position.  Call 999/112 and monitor their breathing until the ambulance arrives.  If they are not breathing normally call 999/112 and start CPR immediately.

It is worth remembering that heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be caused by being in the sun for extended periods, especially if active, but also from being in hot working environments such as kitchens and around machinery.

Recently there has been a sharp rise in these conditions brought on by the use of recreational drugs which stimulate activity (such as ecstasy).  They cause individuals to become dangerously dehydrated and unable to recognise they are becoming unwell.

For more information about the treatment of other types of burns and to practise these life-saving skills come along to one of our informative, fun, accredited first aid courses.  

Have a look on our web site to see which one suits you –

AuthorSam Palmer