Health warning over heatwave

As Goondiwindi braces for continuing heatwave conditions, residents have been urged to stay cool.

The Goondiwindi Health Service has released a number of tips so we can beat the heat, and not end up in hospital.

 Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Dr Penny Hutchinson said it was important to be prepared because extremely hot temperatures could lead to dehydration and sunburn, as well as more serious heat-related conditions such as heat stroke.

Everyone is at risk during periods of high temperatures, but some people are at a higher risk, such as the elderly, very young children, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions as well as those who are physically active outdoors, such as manual workers.

“While heat stroke could be caused by seemingly simple factors, such as not drinking enough water and spending too much time in the sun, it could lead to serious consequences,” Dr Hutchinson said.

“Some of the symptoms of heat-related illness include dizziness, headaches, bright or dark urine and nausea.

“In extreme cases, heat stroke could lead to confusion or slurred speech, a rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea, and a loss of consciousness.

“If this occurs, it is important to call triple zero (000) immediately.”

Dr Hutchinson said it was important to remember sun safety messages in the summer months.

“It’s important to wear a hat, keep out of the sun between 10am and 2pm, wear light clothing and apply sunscreen.

“It is also important to keep an eye on family, friends and neighbours, especially those who may be more susceptible to the various forms of heat-related illness,” she said.

How to prevent a heat-related illness:

 Drink plenty of fluids; cold water is best. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, drink regularly throughout the day. Have a big jug filled with water in the morning and make sure it has been drunk by the afternoon.

 Urine colour is a good indication of hydration. It should be clear to light straw-coloured, not dark or gold-coloured.

 Plan to stay indoors in very hot weather, preferably in an air-conditioned building, or where there is good airflow and access to windows.

 Air-conditioned shopping centres, cinemas, local libraries and pools, can provide refuge from the heat.  People can also stay cool by taking cool showers or baths, or by wetting a washer and placing it on the neck or forehead.

 Adapt your day to the environment and limit strenuous outdoor activity until a cooler time where possible.