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Prepare for the heat: When summer sizzles, stay cool and hydrated

With temperatures in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula set to soar this week, Peninsula Health is reminding people about the importance of keeping cool and staying hydrated.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting the heat to send temperatures into the low to high thirties throughout Victoria over coming days.

Acting Director of Frankston Emergency Department, Dr Jon Dowling, says while summer is a great time for people to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family, it can be easy to forget the precautions which guard against heat-related illnesses.

“This is our first heat spike for the summer and it’s easy to be unprepared. Heat can strain the body, interfering with blood circulation and causing dehydration,” says Dr Dowling.

“This is why we’re reminding everyone to take necessary measures to avoid heat stress, which can either be brought on through the body overheating or being exposed to too much direct sunlight.”

“Planning ahead is important, such as making sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day – but make sure these aren’t sugary or alcoholic.”

“Avoid doing physical activity in the hottest parts of the day and stay indoors or in shaded areas as much as possible. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. If you do have to be outside, be SunSmart. And try taking a cool bath to shower”

Dr Dowling says we should not only look out for ourselves but also the vulnerable members of our community – older people, pets and local wildlife for example – who are at an increased risk of developing heat-related illnesses.

These illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms vary, but often include muscle pains, rapid heart rate, a pale complexion and sweating, to name a few. Other early warning signs can be light-headedness, irritability, and restlessness.

“Look after your neighbour living alone, older people, young children, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets,” says Dr Dowling. “

“Some people aged 65 years and over may be at increased risk of heat-related illnesses because they have chronic medical problems, are on certain medications, have mobility issues or kidney conditions.”

“Check on them frequently to make sure they are all right and if they don’t have air conditioning at home, take them to an air-conditioned indoor location for respite.”

“And always remember to never leave anyone in a closed or locked vehicle such as a car.” 

If you or someone you know is unwell call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for 24-hour health advice or see your doctor. In an emergency, call 000.

More information can be found at the Better Health Channel website  www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/Survive-the-heat

VicEmergency is Victoria’s primary website for all incident information and warnings, including extreme weather events.

The Bureau of Meteorology has the latest weather forecasts and warnings for all Victorian districts and major towns.