The Department of Health is reminding people of the risks associated with heat stress. Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Andy Robertson, said some people were particularly vulnerable in hot temperatures.
“The elderly, young children and babies are more prone to heat stress than most people,” Dr Robertson said.
“The body normally sweats to cool itself, but for the elderly and the very young, the body cannot always regulate temperature changes efficiently which leads to heat stress.
“People who work outside or who are not used to the heat, such as travellers from overseas, may also be at a higher risk.”
Dr Robertson said the effects of heat-related illnesses could range from mild symptoms such as a rash or cramps, to very serious conditions such as heat stroke.
The Department of Health is advising Western Australians who experience severe symptoms, such as: a high body temperature, nausea, dry, red, hot skin, and a rapid heart rate, to seek urgent medical advice.
People should take the following precautions to help prevent heat-related illness:
- Check on older, sick and frail people who may need help coping with the heat;
- Never leave anyone in a closed car;
- Drink plenty of water and fluids (Note: If your doctor normally limits your fluids or you are on fluid tablets, you may need to check how much to drink while the weather is hot);
- Limit or avoid alcohol;
- Stay indoors, if possible in air-conditioning;
- Take a cool shower or bath;
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing;
- Reduce physical activity;
- Avoid outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day;
- Don’t rely on fans unless there is adequate ventilation;
- Know the signs of heat stress (muscle cramps, pallor, dizziness, headache, nausea, increased heart rate, fainting, excessive sweating or no sweating with high temperature and hot, dry skin) and seek medical attention if necessary.