The Gold Coast is officially in the midst of a heatwave and with the conditions forecast to continue on throughout the weekend, it is important to understand the ‘dangers’ of a heatwave.
With temperatures set to soar and humidity levels getting higher across the next few days, emergency services are advising people in the affected areas of of New South Wales and Queensland to take the proper precautions to prevent any medical issues.
These precautions cover a range of areas in conditions so it’s important to take note and be vigilant in the hot conditions for yourself and your family. The following issues are the main conditions that paramedics are treating and are mostly preventable:
Even if you are working inside in air conditioning, when the temperatures outside get warmer, you still need to make an concerted effort to drink enough water. It is recommended to maintain a healthy level of hydration to drink 2 litres of water a day. Obviously if you are working outdoors or the outside temperature is extreme, you need to drink more to replace the water your body is losing through heat.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, headache and loss of concentration.
Prevention: Take regular water breaks. If you are working outside, ensure you take regular breaks in the shade and drink lots of water. If you start to feel light-headed, you will need to sit down and take a longer break ensuring that you are drinking lots of water and taking lots of deep breaths to help restore the the oxygen levels in your body.
The combination of extreme heat and no wind causes air pollution levels to increase which can cause problems for asthma sufferers. Over the past few days Sydney has experienced these conditions resulting in authorities issuing an official warning to those suffering from respiratory conditions.
Symptoms: Asthma sufferers may or may not experience an asthma attack but will experience symptoms that will make them uncomfortable. When the airways become aggravated, asthma sufferers will usually experience tightening of the muscles around the airways which then results in inflammation and extra mucus production.
Prevention: If you or a family member suffer from asthma it is advised in these hot conditions to keep indoors and out of the hot air. Ensure medication is being used frequently to stabilize any symptoms before they become too unmanageable.
It is has been a tragic start to 2017 with a record number of drownings happening around Australia over the summer holidays. Drownings are often preventable but as people now have more access than ever to bodies of water (backyard swimming pools, beaches, public swimming areas, etc) people can often become complacent when it comes to taking the proper safety precautions around water.
Symptoms: Unlike what is depicted in the movies, drowning is a silent killer especially when it comes to children. This is why supervision, being a confident swimmer and swimming in groups is the best safety precautions you can take.
Prevention: Become water wise! This includes swimming between the flags if swimming at the beach; always have adequate supervision when children are swimming in a backyard pool; do not consume alcohol while swimming; be aware of conditions; do not swim alone and most importantly, learn CPR!