ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly and ACT Ambulance Service Acting Chief Officer Mr Howard Wren today warned Canberrans that prolonged extreme heat conditions are again forecast for the ACT this week from Wednesday 29 January lasting until at least Monday 3 February 2014.
"It is important that the ACT community does not become complacent to the risks associated with prolonged periods of hot weather. We all remain susceptible to heat-related stress and illness, which can range from mild to very serious. However, the elderly, young children and babies are most at risk during extreme heat events, Dr Kelly said.
"People with illness and chronic medical conditions and pregnant women may also need extra monitoring and care during hot weather. It's important for these people to continue with their usual medications and see their General Practitioner if they require a medical review.
"Simple tips to help cope with the heat include:
- Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol or caffeine drinks that can increase dehydration;
- Keep as cool as possible by wearing light, loose, comfortable clothing;
- Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Screen your windows from direct sunlight and utilise air-conditioning if available;
- Avoid outdoor exercise or strenuous physical activity, especially in the hottest parts of the day. If you choose to exercise do so early in morning before the temperature climbs.
- When outdoors always protect yourself from sunburn by wearing a hat and applying sunscreen;
- Never leave children or animals in an unattended car. The temperature inside a car can soar rapidly within a few minutes. Heat generated in a closed car can cause serious illness or even death.
"We should make regular checks on family members, friends and neighbours this week for the symptoms of heat exhaustion including nausea, dizziness, fainting, weakness, headaches, vomiting and loss of sweating.
"People with these symptoms should be assisted to seek urgent medical attention by calling triple zero (000) for an ambulance," Dr Kelly concluded.
For more information about preventing heat-related illness, visit: http://health.act.gov.au/health-services/population-health/summer-safety/your-guide-to-summer-safety
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Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases
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