Surviving The Summer Heat
The best way to stay healthy in the heat is to plan ahead for hot days and know what to do when the heat hits. Hot weather can affect anyone, including the young and healthy. However, some people are more at risk than others.
People at higher risk include:
- the elderly or frail
- babies and young children
- people with a disability
- people who have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or who take medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat
- pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
- people who have trouble moving around (such as those who are bed bound or in wheelchairs)
- people who work or are physically active outdoors.
Plan for hot weather
Don’t get caught out this summer. Take a minute right now to think about how you can stay healthy in the heat.
To prepare for hot weather you can:
Ask yourself if you or someone in your family, neighbourhood or circle of friends are vulnerable to heat-related illness and how you might care for them in extreme heat.
- Think of ways you can prepare your home, for example, checking your cooling appliances are working.
- Have a list in mind of places you could go to escape the heat, if it’s just not possible to stay cool at home, and get there before the heat really hits.
- Remember that power failures can happen in extreme heat. Think about what you will do to stay cool and keep in touch.
What actions to take during hot weather
During extreme heat, whether it’s one hot day or a heatwave, remember:
- Look after yourself and keep in touch with others.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep cool.
- Stay out of the sun.
- Hot cars kill – do not leave anyone in a car who cannot easily and quickly get out by themselves.
- For any health concerns contact Mornington Coastal Medical Centre on 035976366. If after hours the Australian Locum Medical Service is available by phoning 13 2660. Further assistance is available by calling NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24
- Contact a medical professional or ambulance in the case of an emergency.
Practical hot weather resources
Everyone can be affected by hot weather and it is important that you take care whenever the temperatures start to rise.
Ongoing hot weather over a period of days, or even a single day of extreme heat, may cause illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- It's important to stay aware of the weather during summer, especially when there are risks of heatwaves or days of high UV.
- When out enjoying the summer, always remember hot weather can spoil food quickly. Make sure you follow safe food practices to avoid illness.
Older people and hot weather
Heat stress may affect older people more than others. People aged 65 years and over may be at increased risk of heat-related illnesses and need special care in hot weather. Factors that can increase a person's risk include living alone, chronic medical problems and certain medication.
Children and hot weather
Babies and young children should be watched carefully during hot weather. They can quickly lose body fluids through perspiring, which can lead to dehydration. They need to drink regularly, wear light clothing and be kept cool. Never leave babies or young children alone in a car, no matter what the weather. Even in mild weather, cars quickly become too hot for small children.
Active people and hot weather
Heat and sport or physical activity (exercise) can be a dangerous combination. Heat stress occurs when sweat can't evaporate fast enough to keep the body sufficiently cool. You can prevent heat stress during sport by drinking plenty of fluids, taking frequent rest breaks and avoiding exercise during the hottest part of the day.
Where to get help
- In an emergency, call triple zero (000)
- Your doctor – if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a heat-related illness Tel 0359763666 or ALMS 13 2660.
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Maternal and Child Health Line, Victoria Tel. 132 229 (24 hours)
- St John Ambulance Australia – for more information on first aid
Things to remember
- Heat-related illness can be prevented - plan ahead for hot days and know what to do when the heat hits.
- Hot cars can kill – do not leave anyone in a parked car who cannot easily and quickly get out by themselves.
- Seek medical assistance if a person shows any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.