With unusually hot weather in the UK this week, it is timely to look at remedies which can help with the down side of sun exposure.
Excessive sun exposure and extreme temperatures (not necessarily from being out in the sun) can both cause problems, and these can be especially marked in those with a chronic susceptibility to problems with heat and sunlight.
In a hot environment, we are usually able to regulate body temperature efficiently by diverting blood supply to the extremities and skin, and by sweating. If we do not take steps to stay cool and hydrated, excessive sweating can result in loss of fluids and mineral salts, and this can lead eventually to heat exhaustion, a serious condition with other symptoms including confusion, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea and weakness. Unaddressed, this can progress to heat stroke (or sun stroke) which is a medical emergency associated with high environmental temperature and an inability to regulate body temperature. Seek medical advice without delay if you are concerned for someone in hot weather conditions, and carry out the following measures also:
- Move the individual to a cool, shady area.
- Cool them down, using a fan and cool compresses or tepid sponging to head and torso.
- Remove layers of clothing to promote heat loss (do not wet the clothes or wrap them in wet towels as this can insulate the body and increase their temperature).
- Provide cool – but not icy cold – drinks. Large quantities of cold water can cause stomach cramps or shock. Sips of cool water are better.
Alongside basic first aid measures, if you or a family member suffer from the bad effects of sun exposure or high temperatures, consider the following remedies which may help where the symptom picture fits:
Belladonna is a useful remedy for sunburn and sun headaches. There may be burning heat of skin, with swelling and tenderness. Headaches are typically throbbing or pulsating, right sided and frontal. In heat exhaustion the person may be delirious.
Sol is a good remedy choice for general symptoms associated with sun exposure, including mild sunburn, sun headache, painful and watering eyes and skin eruptions. It has also been used successfully by professional homeopaths in the treatment of chronic health problems including winter depression.
Calendula can be used topically in cases of superficial burn and sunburn. It eases soreness and promotes healing. A lotion can be made up using one teaspoon of Calendula tincture to a quarter pint (about 150ml) of cool boiled water.
Carbo veg is a useful remedy where heat exposure leads to great exhaustion and weakness, with faintness and a marked desire to be fanned.
Glonoine is one of the first remedies to consider in suspected heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms typically include burning heat of the body with pale face, and the sensation of heat may occur in waves rushing upwards. Pulsating headaches are also typical, and breathing may be laboured. Seek urgent medical help – you can give one or more remedies on the way.
Lachesis is a very useful remedy for sun headaches, where the symptoms are predominantly left sided, and worse after sleep. The face is typically flushed, and the pains throbbing or bursting.
And finally Natrum carb is one of the main remedies which is indicated in constitutional care for those who have chronic problems with sun exposure, including recurrent problems with headache on exposure to the sun. Individuals who would benefit from Natrum carb feel generally worse for the sun, and from getting too hot. There are a number of possible remedies which can reduce susceptibility to sun-related headaches, and a homeopath will look at the whole picture of your health and circumstances to choose a medicine which is tailor made for you.