Wherever you are in Australia, you have most likely been affected by extreme weather conditions, wet, dry or hot. If the heat does head your way this summer, it’s important to look after yourself and those you care for to prevent heat-related fatigue and illness. Here are some easy tips and strategies to remember when keeping yourself and your patients cool this summer.
Drink lots of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Make sure to have a large bottle of water on hand and sip it regularly throughout the day. As much as you might crave that coffee to keep you going, it’s best to avoid drinks that contain caffeine, as they can dehydrate you.
Block harsh sun rays from entering the home to keep the heat out – Try to keep your home cool by closing curtains and windows during the day, and open them at night to let the cool air in.
Avoid the sun – Ensure you SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK and SLIDE if you do go outside and check the UV rating which is usually at its strongest between 11am and 3pm each day. Make sure to apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.
Dress appropriately where possible – Ensure your patients and clients wear lightweight, breathable clothing that allows air to circulate. Avoid dark colours, which absorb heat, and opt for light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.
Use a portable fan misting bottle or cooling bandana to keep yourself and your patients cool – These can help to circulate cool air and keep you cool during long shifts.
Take it easy – Where possible, schedule harder work and physically demanding tasks for cooler parts of the day. Try to avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day and take it easy during your breaks. Listen to your body and rest when you feel tired.
Be prepared – Always check the forecast ahead of time to prepare yourself and your patients for the weather to come.
Be aware of heat-related illnesses – Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke can be serious and even life-threatening. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, and take appropriate action if you or your patients experience any of these symptoms.
By following these simple strategies, you and those you care for can stay cool and comfortable during the summer months in Australia. It’s important to remember that heat stress can lead to serious health issues, so take care of yourself and stay cool