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Be prepared to survive the heat this summer

Elderly lady drinking water

Wednesday 13 December 2017

As the temperatures start to soar it’s important to plan ahead and consider how you can look after yourself and others to survive the heat this summer.

“Heatwaves in Australia are becoming more frequent and can be a serious health threat,” said Lisa Knight, Director Corporate and Community Services, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Everyone can be affected but the most vulnerable groups are the elderly, new babies and those with a medical condition,” she said.

During extreme heat it is easy to become dehydrated or for your body to overheat which can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion range from muscle cramps, dizziness to nausea, vomiting and fainting.

“There are some simple things you can do to prevent dehydration, heat stress or worse,” said Ms Knight.

“This can range from drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated and taking actions to keep you and your home cool.

“Never leave children or pets in cars and don’t forget to check in on any vulnerable neighbours or friends who might be living alone,” she said.

Plan ahead to avoid the heat by staying somewhere nice and cool or head out early to avoid the hotter parts of the day.

Top tips for surviving the heat

• Drink water - even if you don't feel thirsty, drink water. Take a water bottle with you.
• Hot cars kill - never leave children, adults or pets in hot cars. The temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes.
• Keep cool - seek out air-conditioned buildings, draw your blinds, use a fan, take cool showers and dress in light and loose clothing made from natural fabrics.
• Plan ahead - schedule activities in the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising in the heat. If you must go out, wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
• Help others – don’t forget to check in or look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and your pets.

If you or anyone else feels unwell on a hot day call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24, or call 000 in an emergency. For more information visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au/heat.

For information on how to keep your living space cool visit www.heatwavehelp.com.au.

Image: Drop in on elderly neighbours, particularly during hot days.

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