Beat the heat and stay healthy

With the mercury set to rise this week, it becomes important to take expert advice on staying healthy and safe in prolinged heat-wave conditions.


Charles Sturt University Senior lecturer in paramedics, Mr Joe Acker, has over 23 years of experience in pre-hospital care, mostly practicing as a paramedic in the rural, urban, and critical care flight environments.


His advice to people during periods of intense hot weather includes:


1. Stay well-hydrated, it is essential in hot weather. Keep drinking water with you at all times while you work, travel, or play.


2. Hot weather affects the elderly, babies and young children, and people with chronic disease much more than the regular population. So look out for those vulnerable members of the community and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.


3. Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion which include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite, lethargy, and possibly fainting. If any of these occur, move the person to a cool place, remove excess clothing and put cool wet towels around their neck and under their arms. Encourage them to drink water.


4. Sunscreen and hats are essential when you are outside on hot and sunny days.


5. If you are drinking alcohol, remember to also stay hydrated by drinking water.


6. Exercise caution around pools, at the beach and in inland waterways. Many people will head to the water to cool off and while it can be a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous. Choose patrolled beaches and swim between the flags. Small children and those who are not strong swimmers should stay close to shore and consider wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) like a life jacket.


7. Never leave children or animals in a parked car, even for a short period of time. The temperature in a parked car increases very rapidly and can quickly cause serious injury or death.


"The best thing to do is to prevent getting over-heated and stay healthy by following this advice," said Mr Acker.


"However, in an emergency where a person is confused or collapses, call Triple Zero (000) immediately to request an ambulance," he concluded.


If the facilities are available, consider taking a book and spending time in an airconditioned shopping centre or library in the hottest part of the day.


Sitting in front of a fan with lots of cool water to drink at hand is another option, particularly if you don't have airconditioned accommodation.


12 January 2016.