Extreme heat

During the height of summer many members of the community, especially the young, elderly and those with a chronic illness, become more vulnerable to HEAT STRESS as a result of hot weather.

The ACT Ambulance Service encourages all Canberrans and visitors to the national capital to take note of the following tips to avoid HEAT STRESS:

  • Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of cool fluids, preferably water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink;
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, tea and coffee because this will cause dehydration;
  • Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing where possible. Don’t overdress;
  • NEVER leave children alone in a car even for a very short time. The inside temperature can become life-threatening within MINUTES;
  • Avoid any strenuous outdoor activities, especially when the sun is strongest between the hours of 11.00am and 3.00pm;
  • If outside make sure you always wear a shirt and hat – even if you are swimming; and
  • Use plenty of sun screen when outside and reapply regularly.

Symptoms of HEAT STRESS to watch out for include:

  • Nausea;
  • Feeling faint;
  • Dizziness;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Headache; and
  • Vomiting.

If you come across someone with the above symptoms of HEAT STRESS during hot weather take the following actions:

  • Try to get the person to a cooler environment;
  • Lay the person down;
  • Cool them by applying cool, wet towels around the neck and underarms; and
  • If conscious, give cool fluids (preferably water) to drink.

CRITICAL – DROWSINESS / UNCONSCIOUSNESS AND HOT DRY SKIN ARE DEFINITE INDICATORS OF HEAT STROKE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. YOU SHOULD RING EMERGENCY 000 IMMEDIATELY AND ASK FOR AN AMBULANCE.

This page was last modified on September 7th, 2011

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