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Fun in the Sun!

The 11 year old daughter of a friend of mine had fun over the Songkran weekend, throwing water on anything or anyone who passed by. Of course she got drenched as well. That’s all part of the fun. The sun was hidden behind the clouds so she thought she didn’t need to wear a hat or use sunscreen. But that night she began to run a fever and vomited a couple of times. A tummy bug? No, it was heatstroke!
  • Student staying safe from the sun

The problem here is that the UV rays penetrate the clouds, so even though it looks overcast, the danger is still there.  Wet clothes let through more UV light than dry clothes.  At Songkran, your clothes are wet after two minutes!

Now you have all been to the beach and have seen that many swimmers go in wearing a T-shirt and long pants, thinking this is protection.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  You can burn in the water.  Even if you are swimming in a pool or snorkeling in the sea, you can still get burnt.

What happens with heatstroke is that in the hot weather you lose water (dehydration) needed for the body to function properly.  Without enough water to keep the body organs functioning correctly you end up being unable to think correctly, then to heart failure, kidney failure, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, coma and even death.

So what is the treatment for dehydration?  The answer is water, water, water.  Sure add in the odd bottle of Gatorade if you like, but the first line of defense is still water.  You won’t go wrong with three litres a day during the summer months.  Look at ‘prevention’ as well.  Get out of the sun to start with and use a cream with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 and re-apply every two hours.

See you on the beach!

Dr Iain Corness L.R.C.P. (LOND), M.R.C.S. (ENG), M.A.C.O.M.

Consultant, Bangkok Hospital Pattaya

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