Cool way to beat the heat

Published 2:28pm 8 December 2020

Cool way to beat the heat
Words by Nick Crockford

Staying hydrated and sun-safe is a must in the summer says the Deputy Director of Redcliffe Hospital’s Emergency Department Dr Alan Yan.

Each year the hot summer sun and heat cause life-threatening medical emergencies.

“Last summer, Redcliffe’s Emergency Department treated around 60 people for heat-related illnesses, including dehydration and sunburn,” says Dr Yan.

“By being aware of the risks and taking some extra precautions and extra care this summer, we want everyone to help bring that number down.”

Big risk

Dr Yan said dehydration was one of the biggest risks in summer, especially for older people and children.

“Dehydration occurs when our bodies lose too much water, and that water doesn't get replaced quickly enough. In the summer heat, it can happen quickly,” says Dr Yan.

“In the early stages, you may feel thirsty and be producing brighter or darker urine than normal with a bit of a headache.

“At that early stage, treatment can be as simple as drinking more water and sitting down and resting somewhere cool.

“When dehydration is not addressed quickly though, things can get much more serious leading to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke - a life-threatening emergency.”

Water is best

Dr Yan says for most people avoiding dehydration was as easy as staying out of the heat as much as possible and drinking plenty of water on hot days.

“Water is best. Drinking alcohol, tea, coffee, energy or sugary soft drinks can make you more dehydrated,” he says.

“For children, it's important they're reminded to take regular drink-breaks. For older people, it's best to spend hot summer days in cool places where there's plenty of circulating air."

Dr Yan said if you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness, call triple zero or 13 HEALTH for advice.

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