Plan ahead to beat the heat

HEALTH experts are reminding people to stay hydrated and keep cool or risk serious health issues, as temperatures continue to soar.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) School of Biomedical Sciences paramedic lecturer Philip Walker says people need to make a plan for the extreme heat that is set to last for the rest of the week.

“These conditions can make people very unwell very quickly,” he said.

“People need to be aware of the early signs of these conditions, such as headache, weakness, vomiting and dizziness.”

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Mr Walker said signs of heat stroke could include high body temperatures, red or dry skin, a dry and swollen tongue, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, confusion and nausea.

“In the bachelor of clinical practice (paramedic), students are educated about the dangers of heat exposure to themselves and the public, and about the four steps to survive a heat wave,” he said.

Mr Walker said it was important for people to ensure they remained hydrated by drinking regular, small amounts of water during the daytime, starting in the early morning.

“Drink more water if you are going outside or are undertaking strenuous activity,” he said.

“Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages.”

Mr Walker recommended people close their windows, curtains, blinds and shutters early in the day before the weather gets hot, especially on windows facing west.

“Check that the fridge, freezer, fan and air-conditioner work properly,” he said.

“Also wear loose-fitting clothing and sun block, visit places with air conditioning or go for a swim.”

Mr Walker said it was important for people to keep in touch with others at risk of heat-related illness such as the elderly, the very young or those with chronic illness or physical disabilities.

He also advised people to reschedule any non-necessary activity, particularly in the hottest part of the day, and to avoid long periods of exposure to the sun and heat.

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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