By | June 10, 2022

Sunstroke or insolation is heat damage, often caused by prolonged and intense exposure to the sun. This can lead to severe irritation of the meninges, which are located under the skullcap. Typical symptoms are nausea, headache, a hot head and dizziness.

What is sunstroke?

In the case of sunstroke, ictus solis, heliosis or insolation, heat damage occurs, which is usually caused by intensive and long-lasting exposure to the sun on the neck, neck and head. For lemierre syndrome explanations, please visit

In particular, sunbathing causes meningeal irritation, which causes typical complaints and symptoms as a result.

People and children who are exposed to direct sunlight for a long time on the beach or in nature often get sunstroke.

People with fair skin and little hair growth, as well as older people, also suffer from sunstroke more often.


As already briefly mentioned, the cause of sunstroke is usually the direct and long-lasting irradiation of the head, neck or neck by the sun. This leads to irritation of the meninges, which are located under the skullcap.

Elderly people and people with little hair who spend a long time in the sun due to an unprotected head are particularly sensitive. This usually occurs on the beach, at the swimming pool or during sports activities. Children also suffer more often from heat stroke due to their comparatively thin skull bones and light hair.

Symptoms, Ailments & Ailments

Whether on vacation or at home, everyone wants to enjoy the best time of the year for as long as possible. The sun is finally shining, and it’s easy to forget the effects that intense solar radiation can have. If you experience nausea with vomiting, dizziness and circulatory problems after spending time outdoors on a warm, sunny day, you may have sunstroke.

Children and people who are bald or have little hair are particularly affected here, especially if they have enjoyed the sun without covering their heads. Typical signs are a red face, hot head and neck pain or a stiff neck. Fever and chills, along with the other symptoms, don’t appear until after the summer day, usually a few hours later.

In the case of a severe sunstroke, disturbances of consciousness are also possible. High fever and striking paleness can occur in small children. Inflammation of the meninges, meningitis, is possible. In the most severe cases, damage occurs in the brain that can lead to a coma. It should be noted that white surfaces such as snow are also dangerous, as they reflect the sunlight. Since sunstroke symptoms also apply to other diseases, it should be considered whether a long stay in the sun really preceded the symptoms.

Course of the disease

In the course of sunstroke, the typical symptoms such as nausea, headaches and dizziness do not set in until a few hours after exposure to intense sunlight. As a rule, the symptoms and complaints disappear on their own after a short time if the head is kept away from the sun by cooling, shade or headgear.

However, sunstroke can also lead to complications. Above all, severe disturbances of consciousness or even loss of consciousness can occur. In very severe cases, cerebral edema can also develop, which in the worst case leads to an increase in pressure in the brain.

Since this can lead to respiratory arrest, seizures or even coma, treatment by an emergency doctor or quick medical help is advisable.

In smaller children, sunstroke can lead to meningitis, in the form of meningitis, even if the course is severe. In order to avoid irreparable and life-threatening consequences and damage, the head should always be protected from long and direct exposure to the sun.


In most cases, sunstroke is uncomplicated if the affected person removes themselves from the sun in good time. The symptoms usually subside without consequences. However, if the person concerned stays in the sun for too long, there is a risk of serious consequences.

A possible effect of severe sunstroke is impaired consciousness. This can lead to circulatory collapse and unconsciousness. While some patients appear very excited, others behave apathetically or confused. If unconsciousness occurs, it is important to place the affected person in a stable lateral position.

One of the most serious complications of sunstroke is cerebral edema. Cerebral edema occurs when fluid builds up within the brain tissue, which in turn increases the pressure inside the skull. As a result, a seizure threatens. If important control areas of the brain are affected, there is a risk of respiratory failure. A fall into a coma is also possible. Since this is a life-threatening emergency, an ambulance must be called immediately.

Younger children are at risk of sunstroke causing meningitis. The signs of meningitis in children often turn out to be unclear. They suffer from difficulty falling asleep, abdominal pain, sensitivity to touch or discomfort and cannot tolerate light or noise. Sometimes vomiting, seizures, fever and confusion also occur. A quick medical examination is important.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the person affected suffers health irregularities as a result of exposure to sunlight, he should protect himself adequately. Staying in the shade, a cool environment, or a cooling shower can help alleviate existing discomfort. If there is an improvement within a short time, there is no need to consult a doctor. If you avoid direct sunlight, you will usually recover after a few days. However, if the irregularities persist or increase in intensity, medical attention is required.

Problems with the functioning of the circulatory system, nausea and vomiting are causes for concern. Fever, headache, facial flushing, or chills should be seen by a doctor. If dizziness, problems in the neck area or general malaise occur, the person concerned needs help.

When consciousness is interrupted, there is an acute need for action. An emergency room must be visited as quickly as possible or an emergency service must be alerted. Loss of consciousness is alarming because of the risk of a comatose state. The necessary measures must be discussed in cooperation with an emergency doctor or under intensive medical care so that no complications arise. Acute sunstroke carries the risk of permanent memory damage. Therefore, help is needed as soon as irregularities in memory, coordination or orientation become apparent.

Treatment & Therapy

If the symptoms of a very hot head, nausea, dizziness and headaches occur during long sunbathing, sunstroke can usually be assumed. A medical examination is advisable to rule out possible complications and brain damage.

The doctor treating you will then rule out other illnesses through a physical examination and questioning and diagnose sunstroke. The treatment or therapy of a sunstroke then depends on the degree of isolation.

Practical immediate measures are:

  • Relocate the victim to the shadows
  • The victim should lie with the upper body and head elevated
  • If possible, cool the neck, head and neck with cold and damp wraps or towels
  • In the event of impaired consciousness or loss of consciousness , call an ambulance immediately


You can prevent sunstroke very well. Sunstroke can usually be prevented with suitable head protection or a sunshade. Children in particular should always wear a hat in summer. But the neck and neck should not be at the mercy of the constant sunlight either. Plenty of fluids and little physical exertion are also helpful.


Sunstroke is usually easy to treat yourself. It is primarily necessary for those affected to avoid the sun and stay in the shade or in a cool room. The most common symptoms, such as headaches and overheating of the body, can be relieved by elevating the head and upper body.

It is also helpful to put a cool compress on the forehead and neck of the affected person. Staying in a darkened room can also improve the symptoms. In the case of sunstroke, it is important to supply the body with sufficient fluids. This stabilizes the affected person’s circulation and lost electrolytes are replenished. Water and tea are best for this.

Fruits containing water, such as watermelons, also regulate the fluid balance of those affected. Sucking on ice cubes can also bring relief in the acute phase. On the other hand, coffee and alcohol should be avoided in the event of acute sunstroke, so as not to deprive the body of even more fluid.

When you get sunstroke, your body needs rest first and foremost. Any kind of stress should therefore be avoided. Long periods of television watching and working on the PC strain the eyes and should therefore be kept to a minimum, as should loud noises in the acute phase.

You can do that yourself

Sunstroke is a phenomenon that can be easily treated with self-help. Only severe cases require a doctor’s visit. The most important measure is that the person concerned leaves the sun immediately and goes to a shady place or to a cool room.

Elevating your head and upper body is particularly helpful against headaches and overheating. A cool compress on the forehead and darkening the room can also speed up symptom relief. Hydration is especially important when you have sunstroke. It stabilizes the circulation and helps the body to quickly replenish fluids and electrolytes. Water or tea are ideal here. However, it is better to avoid alcohol and coffee in acute sunstroke. If you don’t feel nauseous, you can also drink fruit such as watermelons.

Rest is very important with sunstroke. It is often accompanied by irritability, so patients are best advised to avoid any stress. Loud noises should be avoided, as should eyestrain from watching television or working on a computer. If you feel very hot, you can run cold water over your wrists before resting in a quiet room. Sucking an ice cube in the acute phase often brings additional relief for those affected.