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How Long Does Sunstroke Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 Months – 1 Year

Sunstroke, also known by the term heatstroke, is a condition that is caused by direct exposure to the sun for a prolonged period. A person might experience a sunstroke after spending too much time outside, being under constant heat and light of the sun. It is experienced when the atmospheric temperature is too high and the concerned person is under the influence of direct sunlight.

It can be best described as a medical emergency that requires immediate professional attention if the condition is severe. It is characterized by a very high body temperature that does not cool down as there is a failure in the body’s cooling mechanisms.

Sunstroke can occur in people living in areas having very high temperatures. The body temperature in people under such conditions is higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit i.e 40 degrees celsius might experience excessive sweating and painful headaches.

How Long Does Sunstroke Last?

ConditionDuration
Initial Recovery 1 – 2 days
Complete Recovery2 months – 1 year

A sunstroke causes a tremendous hike in body temperature. In adults, the core heat of the body is as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit and in children, it is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. A person experiencing heat stroke can also undergo mental status changes during this condition.

Generally, infants, the elderly, and adults suffering from some kind of problem are at higher risk of suffering from sunstroke. This is because these groups of people might be unable to regulate their body temperature and bring it down by cooling when it gets excessively hot.

This condition is usually observed in areas where there is no proper ventilation facility and the heat in the environment has no intention to subside. Thus, it is of utmost importance that one takes necessary precautions before stepping out of the house if one is going to stay under the sun for a long time.

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Recovery from sunstroke can vary as per the circumstances concerning each person. It depends on factors like age, duration of direct sun exposure, etc. Thus, if a person experiences profuse sweating, severe headaches, difficulty in breathing, high blood pressure after being in the sun for a long time, it could be a sign of sunstroke. Initial Recovery from sunstroke in the hospital could take 1 – 2 days, however, to completely recover, a maximum duration of about 1 year could be required.

Why Does Sunstroke Last So Long?

Heat exhaustion due to sunstroke should not be taken lightly. If such a condition is left unattended for long it could lead to organ failure, cause shock, can damage the brain and heart, or even prove fatal.

Even though prolonged exposure to the sun is the main reason behind sunstroke, high-intensity exercises too can sometimes cause heat stroke if the body gets excessively warmed up in the workout process and does not cool down or return to normal body temperature immediately during the resting period.

As this is a serious issue, a person might take a long time to recover completely. It must be noted that the healing time would differ from 2- 12 months for each person depending upon the severity of sunstroke the person is currently experiencing.

If the body can return to its normal temperature then there is no problem, however, if a person is unable to do so, that is when this condition becomes a grave concern. Heat exhaustion could cause bad headaches, loss of appetite, feeling of confusion, dizziness, sleepiness, etc. Thus, during hot days, it is advisable to wear light-colored clothes that are not too tight and do not make a person sweat much.

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Conclusion

Extremely high environmental temperature, direct exposure to the sun, and strenuous exercise can cause sunstroke in a person. An adult’s body temperature of as high as 40 degrees Celcius while a child’s body heat of 40.5 degrees Celsius could indicate sunstroke. Ideally, 1 – 2 days in the hospital could aid in the recovery process but for holistic recovery, it could take anywhere from 2 to 12 months to recover completely.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc5175967/
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/3fdaa6475b305137f69dcaf7647c992d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=41361