24.8 C
Byron Shire
September 18, 2021

How to cope in a heatwave

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Temperatures are expected to reach 36 in Lismore and 41 in Casino on Saturday. File photo

As if it wasn’t hot enough already, temperatures on the North Coast are set to soar further later in the week, with Lismore expecting 36 on Saturday and Casino set to hit 39 on Friday and 41 on Saturday.

So with the mercury soaring, how do you avoid losing your cool – or worse?

Health problems

According to the Red Cross, more Australians have died as a result of heatwaves than because of floods, bushfires or cyclones.

‘Extremely hot weather can cause serious health problems,’ says Australian Red Cross’ national emergency services manager, Andrew Coghlan.

‘Older people, pregnant women, children, those with a disability and people taking medications are among those who are more at risk.’

BOM map of the upcoming heatwave, with the north coast luckily dodging the worst of it.

Major disruptions

Extreme heat can also cause major disruptions to daily life, such as electricity cuts, the closure of schools and workplaces, and disruptions to public transport.

‘Everyone is affected by the heat in different ways, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the effects,’ Mr Coghlan says.

Red Cross urges everyone to take extra care and follow these simple tips for staying cool.

  • 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 more cold food, particularly 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.
  • 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.
  • Look out for your neighbours: if you know someone who might be susceptible to heat stress, stop by and make sure they know what to do to stay cool.
  • Download Red Cross’ FREE first aid app so you have the key signs and symptoms at your fingertips and can look up what to do.

 


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