Summer has hit early this year with much of the country already experiencing extreme heatwaves. While for most of us, the heat is just uncomfortable, for some people it can actually be life-threatening. A lot of people can under-estimate the danger of extreme heat and the effect it can have on the body.
People who are most likely to experience intense reactions to heat are the very young and the elderly, however, anyone of us can suffer health problems if we are not sensible in the hot months. Many first aid incidents that happen in summer are purely due to dehydration and are preventable.
Some things to consider in the warmer months:
Drink! When you feel thirsty, it’s already too late – you are dehydrated. Keep your fluids up throughout the day and be mindful of your hot caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee causing further dehydration. Avoid sugary drinks and just stick to water. Water is essential for any living creature and it’s particularly important to keep the fluids up when the temperatures start to rise.
Avoid excessive sun exposure: If your job is in the great outdoors keep yourself protected from the sun. Hat, sun-cream and sunglasses are essential. Try to give yourself some relief from direct exposure by having five minute breather in the shade every hour.
Get some fresh air: It may seem ridicolous to advise to step out of your air-conditioned comfort but fresh air and a healthy dose of Vitamin D is good for your immunity. It will also make you appreciate the air-conditioning more when you step back inside!
Be safe in the water: On the Gold Coast we love nothing more than going for a dip at one of our beautiful beaches or jumping in the backyard pool. But be mindful of yourself and others in the water – things can change very quickly. Brush up on your CPR and First Aid skills and be aware of your surroundings and changing conditions.
The most common first aid incidents we see during the in and around Summer include heatstroke, dehydration and heart problems – if left untreated all of these conditions have the potential of being fatal. Being aware of how the body reacts when it’s in distress from extreme heat will give you an indication on when you need to sit down and cool down.