Western Sydney residents should keep well hydrated and cool to avoid heat-related illnesses with temperatures tipped to soar this week.
Health experts from Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) say it’s more important than ever to know the signs and prevent the health impacts of heat stress.
WSLHD Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman explained the importance of keeping cool during the hot summer months.
“Extreme heat conditions can have serious impacts on peoples’ health,” Christine said.
“It’s essential for your body temperature to stay in the range of 36.1 – 37.8 degrees Celsius. If it rises above 37.8 degrees, you may develop a heat-related illness. Our bodies have to work very hard and produce a lot of sweat to keep cool when the weather is very hot.”
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses can vary depending on the severity, but could include:
- feeling confused, weak or faint.
Heat stress is preventable with simple precautions. To stay healthy in the heat, remember these four tips:
- Drink plenty of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty; and avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks
- Keep cool – keep your body and your house cool by closing any windows and curtains/blinds
- Take care of others – check in on elderly friends, neighbours and relatives daily
- Have a plan – know who to call if you need help.
People with severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention via their GP or the emergency department at their nearest hospital.
“We encourage you to look out for family, neighbours and other community members who may be more vulnerable to heat stress, or more prone to heat-related illnesses,” Christine said.
“Babies and children, older adults, people who are sick or unwell, and those with a chronic illness may all be more susceptible to heat stress.
“It’s also good idea to always have drinking water on hand and to drink plenty of it; to stay indoors or in the shade whenever possible, and to keep your body cool by having air circulating around you.”
There are a range of community ‘cool places’ where residents can seek refuge from the heat, including public libraries, local pools and other indoor spaces. Contact your local council for details and opening hours.
Christine also reminded residents to never leave a person, particularly a child, older adult or a pet, inside a closed parked car, as the exposure to high temperatures inside can cause serious permanent injuries (damage to the brain or other vital organs), and in extreme cases, can result in death.
More information can be found at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat