Keep cool and safe this summer

Wednesday 03 January 2018

Sitting dog with open mouth, fan blowing in face

Summer in Yarra can bring extremely high temperatures for prolonged periods which can put your health at risk if you don’t have an effective heatwave plan.

Heatwaves are periods of extreme temperatures where the average day and night temperature reaches above 30°C for 3 or more days. Many of us are vulnerable to the heat which can have adverse health impacts including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, cramping or even death.

It is important that you are aware of your own health as the heat can make existing conditions worse, or bring on new health concerns. It is also important that you keep an eye on those around you to make sure we all stay safe this summer.

According to The Department of Health and Human Services, you are most vulnerable to the heat if you:

  • are aged over 65 years, especially those living alone
  • have a medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness
  • take medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat, such as:
    • allergy medicines (antihistamines)
    • blood pressure and heart medicines (beta-blockers)
    • seizure medicines (anticonvulsants)
    • water pills (diuretics)
  • antidepressants or antipsychotics
  • have problematic alcohol or drug use
  • have a disability
  • have trouble moving around such as those who are bed bound or in wheelchairs
  • are pregnant and/or breastfeeding
  • are a baby or young child
  • are overweight or obese
  • work or exercise outdoors
  • have recently arrived from a cooler climate

Tips to stay cool

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks as they dehydrate you
  • Remove warm clothing and place a cold compress (e.g. wet tea towel) around the back of your neck, knees, groin, armpits
  • Spray your skin with water and eat water-rich foods like raw fruit and vegetables
  • Put blinds down in your house to keep the heat of the sun out
  • Avoid exercise
  • Stay out of the sun

Tips to help others

  • Check on the elderly and sick family, friends and neighbours every day during the heatwave
  • Never leave children or pets in the car
  • Place ice-cubes in your pet's water bowl
  • Complete a first aid course so you can easily identify and treat heat illnesses if required
  • For life-threatening emergencies call 000

To find out more, see heat safety resources offered by The Department of Health and Human Services.

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