How You Can Help The Vulnerable During The Heat

How You Can Help The Vulnerable During The Heat

With much of southern Australia sweltering under the current heat, Australian Red Cross is urging people to take care of themselves and those in the community who need extra help.

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With much of South Australia set to swelter this week during the 40+ degree days, the Australian Red Cross is urging people to take care of themselves and those in the community who need extra help.

Red Cross South Australia says the poor and most vulnerable are often the hardest hit by extreme weather.

‘It is the young, the elderly, the sick and those without adequate housing that will continue to suffer most from the effects of a changing climate.”

“As extreme weather becomes more common, we will have to ensure that, as a community, we look out for those most vulnerable.

“It’s essential that communities are supported to adapt to the changing conditions. Adapting everything we do to a new and changing climate is a shared responsibility. No one person, group, business or government can do it alone.”

Severe heatwaves are forecast for much of SA this week, with Adelaide expecting a top of 41 degrees today, 43 tomorrow, 42 on Thursday and 45 degrees on Friday.

“Heatwaves can be extremely dangerous. They not only affect your daily activities, but can be a serious risk to your health and wellbeing. Heatwaves and hot weather kill more people in Australia than bushfires, cyclones and any other natural disaster, so it’s important to adapt your activities and have a plan to keep cool.

“Whether it’s heat exhaustion or heat stroke, they’re especially dangerous for older people, young children and people with a medical condition. However, there are lots of things you can do to help yourself – and your family, friends, neighbours and pets – beat the heat and keep cool.”

Red Cross’ tips for coping with the heat:

  • Be aware of forecasts: so you can plan ahead.
  • Check in with people: who are alone or at extra risk.
  • Drink regularly: even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water is the best option. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary or fizzy drinks as they make dehydration worse.
  • Eat little and often: rather than large meals. Try to eat salads and fruit, which contain water.
  • Stay indoors: in the coolest rooms of your house or in the shade during the hottest part of the day. Go to the coolest place you can.
  • Take cool showers and splash yourself with cold water several times a day, particularly your face and the back of your neck. A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can help you stay cool.
  • Air flow: make sure there is sufficient air circulation, either from an air conditioner or by leaving a secured window or door open.
  • Find the shade: if you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes, preferably made of natural fibres. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 to exposed skin. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.

More advice is on these websites:

http://www.redcross.org.au/how-to-keep-cool-in-heatwaves.aspx

http://www.redcross.org.au/heatstroke-symptoms.aspx

First published in February 2017

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