Don’t be stung by the sun's heat

People are being urged to protect themselves this summer from potentially harmful effects of the searing sun following a 128 per cent spike in sunstroke presentations In SA between 2013 and 2014.

 

Health Minister Jack Snelling said the significant rise could be attributed to the heatwave of January 2014 followed up by a very hot February.

 

“In 2014 there was a total of 57 sunstroke presentations compared to 25 in 2013 with 43 out of the 57 cases occurring in January and February,” Mr Snelling said.

 

“Figures also show over the past five years, there’s been an average of 38 sunburn hospital presentations.

 

This reinforces the important message that people need to be sun smart or face potentially serious consequences.”

 

SA Health Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, said there are a number of simple measures people can take to keep safe.

 

“It’s important to keep well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water,” Prof Phillips said.

 

“To help protect your skin from harsh U-V rays, always wear sunscreen, cover up with a hat and long sleeved shirt and protect your eyes with sunglasses.

 

“To lessen the risk of sunstroke, try to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 4pm, take advantage of fans and air-conditioners and keep blinds and curtains drawn.

 

“Check on any elderly relatives, neighbours and friends and make sure their air conditioner is working properly.

 

“Also take special care of babies and children with extra breast feeds or drinks of water as they’re at most risk from the extreme heat.

 

“Never leave children unattended in a car as cars can heat up very quickly.

 

“People who are ill are also at increased risk from suffering from the effects of the sun.

 

The SA Health booklet Extreme Heat – Guide to coping and staying healthy in the heat provides more information on heat-related conditions and advice on what to do if people begin to develop symptoms of heat-related illness.

 

For more information about preventing heat-related illness or to download copies of the Extreme Heat guide, see http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/Public+Content/SA+Health+Internet/Protecting+public+health/Emergency+management/Extreme+heat

 

9 February 2015.