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Beat the heat

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Temperatures can soar to dangerous levels in many parts of Australia during January and February. ECU researchers are investigating how to stay safe in the sun, as well as keeping cool around the home.

Stay fit over the festive season

Staying motivated to exercise in the heat of summer can be a struggle, but physiologist Dr Chris Abbiss is encouraging people not to use the sizzling temperatures as an excuse to skip out on being active.

“It is a good idea to avoid doing strenuous exercise in the hottest parts of the day, but the human body is remarkably good at acclimatising to different temperatures,” he said.

“Generally it only takes one to two weeks to acclimatise to the hot weather.”

Heat stress

As summer heats up, West Australians are being urged to keep an eye on their elderly friends and family.

Associate Professor Jacques Oosthuizen said that, surprisingly, night time is often the most dangerous period for heat stress, particularly with three or more nights in a row where the temperature doesn’t drop below 30C.

“If they don’t have air conditioning at home, the best thing to do is to take them to a shopping centre or to the movies where it is air conditioned,” he said.

Food safety

Summer provides the perfect opportunity for outdoor eating with family and friends. Unfortunately warmer temperatures also give bacteria the opportunity to thrive. According to Nutrition and Dietetics Associate Professor Amanda Devine the key to summer food safety is keeping hot food hot and cold food cold.

“Bacteria thrives between five and 60 degrees Celsius, so you should ensure to never store or transport food within this temperature range,” she said.

“You should also ensure that food you cook on the barbecue reaches an internal temperature of more than 75 degrees Celsius and also never leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours.”

Avoiding bushfires

Are you thinking of taking a road trip this summer? Planning a safe route to avoid bushfires has never been more simple. A new website created by ECU researchers and Landgate provides publicly available and easy to use bushfire information to anyone with internet access.

The website MyFireWatch uses information from satellites to map the location of fires and lightning activity and is updated multiple times a day.

PhD Candidate Paul Haimes said it also shows previously burned areas, greenness of vegetation, weather observations and has links to emergency services alerts.

“Holiday makers can safely plan their route before they leave home, or take their tablet or smartphone with them in the car and providing they have internet access, check for the latest bushfire information on MyFireWatch while on the road,” he said.

(Source: Edith Cowan University)

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Posted On: 29 January, 2015
Modified On: 2 February, 2015

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