It’s going to get hotter from here on in this week. This will come as no surprise to anybody who has been monitoring the weather forecast. Friday something around the 39C mark is predicted. The weekend temps will hover in the mid-30s. But it could get much hotter depending on where you are.
It’s summer. It gets hot. We cope (mostly, although not without a fair bit of griping from some sectors).
But a heat health alert has been issued for central, north central and northern Victoria for Thursday and Friday – a status that is activated in the area when the temperature rises above 30C in central and north central areas and 32C in the northern. It’s something to be serious about.
The higher temperatures bring risks for the elderly and unwell. As the health.vic website points out “heat stress may affect older people more than others. Some people aged 65 years and over may be at increased risk of heat-related illnesses and need special care in hot weather”.
Rashes, cramps, hot and dry skin, looking pale, rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, disorientation and confusion, delirium, fainting, coma and a worsening of existing medical conditions are all heat stress symptoms.
You are more at risk if you live alone. This isn’t just the elderly – solo flyers of any age often have nobody to hector them to act if they don’t feel well. But anybody can suffer from heat stress. We all, at some point, try to save money by not running the air conditioner or fan. We stay outside too long without slip, slop, slapping as we enjoy the great Australian summer. We don’t drink enough water. Hands up if you don’t drink in the hours before you go to bed so you don’t have to get up in the night?
In the coming days, keep an eye out for signs of heat fatigue - especially among elderly friends, neighbours and relatives. Encourage them to drink water, if their air conditioner is on the blink tell them to escape to a library, shopping centre or cinema and to stay inside between 11am and 5pm. Afterall, only mad dogs go out in our midday sun.
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