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How to keep your cool during a heatwave

For most Australians, summer means fun in the sun. Fun at the beach, enjoying a barbeque with friends, and getting excited about the festive season and school holidays are all part of life as temperatures rise.

But with higher temperatures being recorded each year, and heatwaves becoming more common, it’s important to stay cool and know what to do if someone you love is affected by heat stress.

People over 65, young children, and anyone who is unwell, are at increased risk of heat-related illness. Our entire community should keep an eye out for anyone who might be vulnerable in hot weather.

Here are some tips for keeping your cool in a heatwave.

Image of a melting popsicle

Plan ahead

If you know hot days are coming, plan to be somewhere you can keep cool.

Use your air-conditioning or fans at home if you have them, and keep your curtains and blinds closed to keep the heat out.

If you must leave your house, try to avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day – usually between 11am and 3pm, and stay in the shade as much as you can.

Wear loose-fitting clothing to protect your skin but allows air to circulate around your body, and wear plenty of sunscreen.

Water is life

Glass of water

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. You don’t have to drink a lot all at once.

Be ready with some bottles of water or a jug chilling in the fridge, and keep your glass topped to sip regularly throughout the day.

It’s best to avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and or other caffeinated drinks because they may dehydrate you and increase your risk of becoming unwell.

You might not feel like eating when the temperature soars, but eating frequent small meals - especially salads, fruits, and other light foods high in water content - will keep energy and hydration levels up.

Is your home heatwave ready?

If you are over 65, you may be eligible for a Home Care Package.

Home Care Package funding can support you to stay living at home as you age, like having the gutters cleaned, installing a cooling system, or transport to a local pool or shopping centre to help you stay cool.

What to do if you need help

Signs of heat stress include nausea, dry skin, and feeling extra tired. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from heat stress, call 000 immediately for an ambulance.

Heat stress is a medical emergency, and it isn’t worth taking any risks.

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