Heat Blog 1100x802

Understanding hot weather conditions and how to beat the heat

05/02/2018BY: Tracey Mesken

​Heat waves and hot weather kill more people in Australia than bush fires, cyclones and any other natural disaster, so it's important to adapt your activities and have a plan to keep cool.

Who are the most at risk?

  • The elderly

  • Babies & young children

  • People with chronic health conditions (such as breathing or heart problems)

  • People with limited mobility

  • People not use to hot weather

  • People who overexert themselves

  • People on certain medications

  • People with mental health conditions

Action Plan

1. Drink Water

  • Ensure you drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

  • Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and soft drink & sugar loaded drinks. These drinks make dehydration worse.

  • Eat small meals more often with a focus on cold foods like salads and fruit.

2. Keep Cool

  • Stay indoors: keep out of the heat if you can.

  • You may be reluctant to use your air conditioner but if your household contains vulnerable people it's important to use every cooling option available.

  • If you need to go outside, wear light clothing and a hat, put on sunscreen and take water with you.

  • Rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day

  • Draw blinds or curtains early in the day.

  • Check that your fan or air-conditioner works well. Have it serviced/repaired if necessary.

  • Turn your air-conditioner on before the room heats up.

  • Take cool showers and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, or use a damp cloth.

  • Go to an air-conditioned building in your local area to cool off: shopping centre, community centre or library.

3. Get Organised

  • Check the forecast. This will help you prepare ahead for shopping and scheduling appointments.

  • Identify your support network. Include people who can help you get things you need during and after a heat wave. This could be family, friends, neighbours or a carer.

  • Write down your important numbers.

  • Keep in touch with friends, neighbours and relatives, particularly if they're unwell or isolated.

  • Store medicines safely at the recommended temperature.

  • Talk to the doctor about how the heat might affect you.

  • Ensure your pets are also well hydrated and have plenty of shade when they are outside.

  • Look at the things you can do to make your home cooler such as installing awnings or shade cloths.

  • Stock up on food, water and medicines.

4.Get help

Heat exhaustion

  • Heat exhaustion happens when someone becomes dehydrated due to loss of water from exercising or working in poorly ventilated conditions.

  • Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms

  • Muscle cramps, especially in the calves and toes.

  • Exhaustion and general weakness.

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.

  • Dizzy spells.

  • Pale, cool, clammy skin at first, becoming flushed and red later.

  • A rapid, weak pulse and rapid, noisy breathing.

Heat Exhaustion Treatment

  • Help the person to lie down at total rest in a cool area.

  • Loosen any tight clothing.

  • If fully alert and conscious, give them frequent small drinks of water or ice chips to suck.

  • If muscle cramps occur, gently stretch the affected muscles to ease pain.

  • Check vital signs at regular intervals.

  • If unconscious or not fully conscious, place in the recovery position.

  • If the person is unable to drink, or is vomiting or unconscious, call 000 for an ambulance (or 112 from a mobile).

  • Prepare to give CPR if necessary.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and can cause a person to collapse or fall unconscious Heat stroke is more serious and means the body is no longer able to regulate its temperature by cooling the skin's surface by sweating. The internal body temperature rises, and organ damage can occur.

  • No longer sweating.

  • Red, hot and dry skin.

  • A body temperature over 40°C.

  • A rapid, strong pulse.

  • Rapid, noisy breathing.

  • Irrational or aggressive behaviour.

  • Deterioration of the conscious state.

Heat Exhaustion Treatment

  • Call 000 for an ambulance immediately (or 112 from a mobile).

  • Cool the person using wet towels or a wet sheet with a fan directed across the surface.

  • If ice packs are available, wrap them in towels and place them in the armpits or groin.

  • If shivering occurs stop active cooling.

  • Check vital signs at regular intervals.

  • If unconscious or not fully conscious, place in the recovery position.

  • Prepare to give CPR if necessary.

SOURCE: http://www.redcross.org.au