24.9°C 03:00 pm

Simple steps to stay cool, safe

Wednesday, 2nd February, 2011

Dr Tamara Young and registered nurse Sarah Hithersay show what can happen when someone suffers heat stroke; they will be admitted to hospital and put on a drip for rehydration as the first step in their treatment. Dr Tamara Young and registered nurse Sarah Hithersay show what can happen when someone suffers heat stroke; they will be admitted to hospital and put on a drip for rehydration as the first step in their treatment.

With this week a scorcher, the health service has offered a few simple precautions to keep cool and stay safe. 

Ingo Steppat, from the Centre for Population Health Unit, said people of all ages had to take care to avoid heat exhaustion.

"People need to be alert for the symptoms associated with heat exhaustion in themselves or others, especially young children and the elderly," Mr Steppat said.

"People need to make the most of shade and well ventilated areas and stay inside during the hottest part of the day." 

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, faintness, dizziness, loss of appetite, weakness, headache, and vomiting. 

Some people may also suffer from an increased body temperature or an increased breathing rate.

"If any of these symptoms occur, lay the person down and apply cool, wet towels around the neck and under the arms, and have them drink cool fluids," Mr Steppat said.

"If the person does not respond to treatment or has severe symptoms such as confusion or collapse, call 000 and ask for the Ambulance Service."

People with heart problems, diabetes or hypertension should take extra care, he said.

Others at risk of heat exhaustion include outdoor workers, people in workplaces with poor cooling systems and those undertaking demanding physical activity.

"People are also warned to be mindful that heat generated in a closed car can be fatal to children."

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