Keeping safe amid prolonged heatwave

The summers in Australia are getting hotter, and record-breaking days have been happening more frequently recently.

Elderly people may experience difficulty during heat waves, especially when it feels like the heat never stops. One of the most vulnerable populations during a heatwave is the elderly.
Pay attention to impending heat waves and make sure to visit any elderly neighbours, friends, or family.

Heatstroke is a serious emergency that has to be treated right away, so you should call your doctor, hospital, or ambulance service if you experience even mild heat-related difficulties.
As we age our bodies are less able to regulate themselves during periods of intense heat, and elderly persons are more at risk of dehydration and medical crisis.

How does heat affect the body?

Your body makes an effort to cool you down when you become overheated by increasing your heart rate, perspiration, and blood flow. Your body experiences heat stress if, despite using these strategies, it is unable to handle the heat. Hyperthermia is the primary term used to describe heat-related medical disorders.

Think about heat syncope, which is dizziness on hot days while you’re active. You are more prone to dizziness if you are using a type of cardiac medicine, in particular. You may get heat syncope if your blood pressure is low. For instance, if you are standing for an extended period of time in the heat, your blood vessels expand, which causes body fluid to collect in your legs due to gravity. The abrupt drop in blood pressure might make a person dizzy.

Heat cramps are muscle spasms that typically occur in the arms, legs, or stomach as a result of sweating and salt loss from exercise. You may experience cramping if the heat leads you to lose electrolytes and liquids.

Another common condition is heat edema, which causes your feet and ankles to become heated and swell.

When you begin to feel heat exhaustion, this may be a clear sign that your body is losing the ability to control its temperature and stay cool. It may make you faint, queasy, or lightheaded. Moreover, you can experience clammy skin and a quick heartbeat.

You are in danger as soon as you begin to exhibit signs of heat stroke. Fainting, behavioural changes, a high body temperature, flushed skin, a quick or weak pulse, and a lack of sweating are all symptoms of heat stroke.

You run a higher risk of heat-related medical crisis or death if you have cardiac issues, malfunctioning sweat glands, heart, lung, or renal disease, are overweight, or any of these conditions.

Elderly persons will always be susceptible to heatwaves and vulnerable to serious medical emergencies, regardless of their degree of activity and fitness.

How to be safe while it’s hot outside

It’s crucial to drink more water than usual during prolonged heatwaves in Australia.

Encourage yourself to consume water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Try sucking on iceblocks or ice chips to help you maintain your fluid intake if it is too difficult.

Avoid drinking beer, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages. Juices made from fruits or vegetables are good alternatives to water to increase hydration and sugar levels.

Use your air conditioning if you have it. It is a frequent misperception that older folks without air conditioning are the ones who pass away from heatstroke. The elderly person usually has air conditioning, but they rarely use it because they are concerned about the cost of electricity.

Anybody who uses a fan should keep in mind that they merely move air about the room; they do not cool the air around you. By draining the moisture from your body, fans use your own perspiration to chill your body down. Nevertheless, as temperatures are above 35 degrees, this technique is not particularly efficient.

If your home is too warm or lacks any sort of air conditioning, go somewhere with air conditioning, like a shopping mall, the theatre, a community centre, or a friend’s or family member’s home.

Also, it’s crucial to make an effort to limit your exposure to direct sunshine. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, and pay attention to the fabric. Fabrics like cotton and linen are suitable for hot weather because they don’t obstruct airflow and are good heat conductors.

If you must go outside, try to stay in the shade and keep away from crowded areas and outdoor exercise.



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