We live in a sunburnt country where hot days and heatwaves can stress our bodies. With hot summers likely to continue, the information provided by HealthDirect Australia shows you how to stay cool and hydrated during the warmer months and what to do if you start to feel unwell.
Tips to help you stay well during hot weather
Drink plenty of water – One of the best ways to avoid heat-related illness is to drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep drinking water even if you don’t feel thirsty, because this can prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks (including tea and coffee) because these can make dehydration worse. Keep your body cool – Keeping as cool as possible can also help you prevent heat related illness. Make sure you stay out of the sun. Drinking cold drinks and eating smaller, cold meals, such as salads and fruit, can also help you to keep cool. Other things to do include wearing light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton and taking cool showers or baths. Keep your house cool – You can help keep your house cool by closing all the windows and shutting curtains and blinds during the day. If you don’t have air-conditioning, go to a cool place such as a library, shopping centre, cinema or swimming pool. Stay in the coolest room in the house and use the stove and oven as little as possible.
Take care of others
Visit or call elderly friends, neighbours or relatives at least once a day. Check they have water in the fridge and encourage them to drink it. You may like to take them to a shopping centre, library or cinema with air-conditioning. Have a plan – Keep an eye on the weather forecast and know who to call if you need help. Ask your doctor if you have any health conditions that mean you are at greater risk of heat-related illness, and what you need to do about them to keep well in the heat. If you are unwell, contact your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. If you think your symptoms are serious, call for an ambulance immediately on triple zero (000). Keep your food safe – Make sure food that needs refrigeration is properly stored, and defrost foods in the fridge, not on the kitchen bench. Stay safe in the sun – If you need to go outside in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin. If you avoid sunburn, you reduce the risk of skin cancer, which is one of the most common cancer types in Australia.
Where can I get help?
If you are unwell, contact your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. If you think your symptoms are serious, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately. While you are waiting for an ambulance try to cool yourself down. You can do this by placing icepacks under your armpits, on your groin or on the back of the neck to reduce body heat. Take a cool shower or bath (if you feel well enough) or spray yourself with cool water from a spray bottle. You can also call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 to talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.