Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) is reminding people to take the risk of heat related illness seriously with temperatures in the region expected to reach into the high 30s and early 40s for several days in a row.
The District’s Acting Director Public Health, Alison Nikitas says that while excessive heat is dangerous to everyone, some people are particularly vulnerable. People at risk include older persons, people with a chronic medical condition, people who live alone, and infants and children.
“Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can be stressful on your body. It can be even worse if you have an underlying condition. It’s important to be prepared and take precautions to reduce your time in the heat,” Ms Nikitas said.
“My advice is to take steps to keep yourself safe and to check on those around you. Stay in touch with your elderly friends, neighbours, and relatives, and be mindful that babies and infants are at risk too as they can overheat and dehydrate quickly.”
Simple steps to minimise the risk of heat-related illness include:
- Drinking plenty of water, and carry some with you when you’re out
- Eating smaller, cold meals such as salad and fruit
- If you are travelling, taking water to drink in case you break down or are delayed
- Avoiding alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks
- Planning your day around the heat, staying indoors between 11am and 5pm and minimising physical activity
- Keeping the sun out of your house by shading windows with an awning, shade-cloth, or plants. Shutting curtains and blinds, and using fans and air conditioning where available
- Taking cool showers or baths or putting your feet in cool water
- Seeking out air-conditioned public buildings such as libraries and shopping centres.
SNSWLHD Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Elizabeth Mullins encourages people to seek medical care early if they show signs of heat related illness.
“Look out for things like headaches, vomiting, confusion, or an altered mental state. These are a cause for concern and a sign that you should go to your nearest Emergency Department,” said Dr Mullins.
For more information about staying healthy in the heat, as well as tips and tricks for keeping cool and staying hydrated go to www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat
Trusted health advice is available by calling HealthDirect on 1800 022 222.