Queenslanders warned to take care in hot conditions

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Queenslanders are urged to put their health first as the state gets set to sizzle through its hottest day yet.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg encouraged people to look out for one another and to use common sense during the warmer weather.

“It is important to drink plenty of fluids and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink,” Mr Springborg said.

“If you are indoors, make use of fans and open windows or switch on an air conditioner, and if outdoors, take precautions to ensure you keep cool.

“Some people are more prone to heat-related illness including the elderly, infants, overweight and obese people, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with pre-existing health conditions.

“I would urge everyone to check in on family, friends and neighbours who may be more prone to heat-related illness to make sure they are okay.

“If there is any chance they may be suffering heat stroke, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.”

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QAS Acting Commissioner David Eeles said paramedics would no doubt be kept busy over the next few days, as an increase in temperature often meant an increase in workload.

“Last summer, paramedics responded to approximately 355 cases across the state where people had suffered heat-related illness, equating to an average of four patients per day,” Mr Eeles said.

“In particular, severe heat stress may cause deterioration for those people who suffer from heart, lung or kidney problems.

“The service stands ready to assist the community, however, it’s important Queenslanders do their part in looking out for one another in order to stay safe.”

If someone is affected by the heat they need to be cooled down immediately. Always provide cool, non-alcoholic fluids, but only if the affected person can swallow.

Tips to avoid heat stress

Keeping healthy in the heat:

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  • urine colour is a good guide to hydration – it should be clear to light straw-coloured, not dark or gold
  • public venues, such as air-conditioned shopping centres and pools, can provide refuge from the heat
  • people can also stay cool by taking cool showers or baths, soaking their feet in a basin of water, or wetting a bandana or washer and wrapping it around their neck
  • take time to adjust to the environment, pace yourself and limit strenuous outdoor activity

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • muscle cramps
  • heavy sweating
  • paleness
  • dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fainting

Heat stroke symptoms:

  • extremely high body temperature
  • red, hot, dry skin, but possibly some clamminess
  • a rapid pulse
  • headache
  • confusion

(Source: Queensland Government)

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Date Created: January 9, 2014 Date Modified: January 10, 2014