WITH temperatures soaring, it has been tempting to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.

Although sunlight is recommended in moderation to maintain vitamin D levels, too much heat and sun can do more harm than good.

Excess sun exposure will result in lasting damage to the skin and increased risk of malignant melanoma, perhaps the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

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Heat exhaustion is a worrying condition, which if unnoticed, can progress to heat stroke, a life-threatening situation.

If your internal temperature rises too much, due to excess heat and/or sun exposure, the body is unable to cope, and these delicate processes can become seriously disrupted.

The initial signs of heat exhaustion may be a headache which can progress to reduced levels of consciousness.

You may feel faint, nauseous or have abdominal pain. Your heart may be racing, noticed as a bounding pulse.

If recognised in a timely manner, you can recover from heat exhaustion in under an hour.

Daily Echo:

The steps are simple. Remove yourself from the hot environment. Try to drink as much non-alcoholic fluid as you are comfortable with. Remove excess clothing, particularly any dark items, as these trap the heat.

Apply cool wet compresses to your skin. If a fan is also used the water will evaporate off the skin more rapidly, cooling you quickly.

It is unlikely that a person with actual heat stroke will be able to recognise this, so it is vital that you keep an eye on your companions when out and about.

Heat stroke occurs when an adult’s temperature rises above 40 degrees centigrade, or a child’s above 37.5.

A person with true heat stroke may actually collapse. The brain may swell, with altered heart, lung and kidney function.

This is a life-threatening medical emergency and must never be ignored.

If a person collapses in front of you with heat stroke, place them in the recovery position. Immediately ring for an ambulance and apply ice packs.

Daily Echo:

While it may be obvious that those at the extremes of age will be more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and stroke, it can happen to anyone.

While the above sounds all doom and gloom, the sun can be enjoyed sensibly.

Make sure that you and yours wear a high factor sunscreen, regularly applied. Wear breathable clothes. A wide brimmed hat will prevent your face from direct sun exposure.

Ensure you drink enough fluids. Try to eat little and often.

As the saying goes, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” so please avoid the hours of 11 am to 3pm, when temperatures will be at their highest.