BEAT THE HEAT AND SMOKE

With temperatures forecast to reach 40 degrees in parts of Northern NSW on Saturday, the North Coast Public Health Unit (NCPHU) is again reminding people to take necessary actions to keep cool to avoid overheating.

The combined effects of persistent bushfire smoke and soaring temperatures means vulnerable people should take extra precautions, A/ Director NCPHU, Greg Bell, said.

“Hot weather and poor air quality are a recipe for severe illness unless people take simple precautions,” Mr Bell said.

“We are urging people to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day, to minimise physical activity, to keep well hydrated and reduce their exposure to smoky air where possible.

“It’s important for vulnerable people with underlying heart and lung conditions or asthma, and pregnant women to heed these warnings.

“Hot weather puts a lot of strain on the body, causes dehydration and can make underlying health conditions worse. It also causes heat stress and heat stroke.

“Compounded by the continued impact of smoky air from bushfires, it’s important that people are prepared.

To stay well in the heat, people should:

  • stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, usually from 11am to 4pm,
  • stay cool, either in an air conditioned location or using fans and keeping curtains shut to help keep the heat out of your home,
  • minimise physical activity, and
  • drink plenty of water.

“It’s also really important to stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives because they may be more vulnerable to the heat.

“Signs of heat-related illness include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps, headache, changes in skin colour, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion,” he said.

Mr Bell said it’s important to get to a cool place quickly if symptoms occur. People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention, in an emergency situation call Triple Zero (000).

More information can be found at the NSW Health website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat


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