Hot weather precautions

With heatwaves expected later this summer now is the time to remind yourself how to keep cool and stay healthy in the heat.

According to Australian Government data, from July 2019 to June 2022 people aged 65 and over were the most common age cohort of all those admitted to hospital for heat-related injuries.

Elderly people are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion/stress – the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through profuse sweating. People taking fluid tablets or on fluid restrictions may be unable to recognise and respond to thirst and are particularly vulnerable. Drinking too much water can also be dangerous, so monitoring the amount and colour of urine is important. The optimal level of water consumption should ensure that urine is light yellow.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include a headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, heavy sweating, elevated body temperature and decreased urine output.

To combat heat-related illnesses clients should minimise the time they spend outside during extreme heat events, wear appropriate clothing, have access to adequate fluids such as water, and use cooling devices. If no air conditioning is available, a fan blowing with a wet sheet or towel in front of it (not over it) can be highly effective for cooling the air.

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