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Heat Health Warning

Friday, 23 December 2016

South Australians are urged to keep cool and hydrated to avoid heat-related illness as the state experiences its first blast of hot weather for the summer this weekend.

SA Health Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips, together with SA Ambulance Service Operations Team Leader Amanda Cameron, have reminded people that the forecast hot temperatures could catch people off-guard.

“During the festive season, it’s easy to become distracted and forget the dangers that can arise when the temperature heats up,” Professor Phillips said.

“Over the holidays people tend to spend more time outside, be it playing sport, visiting our many beautiful national parks and playgrounds, or going to the beach.

“Since these are the highest temperatures the state has experienced in recent months, we are reminding everyone to think about the basic principles of protecting you and your family from the sun.

“Elderly people, babies, children, and those who are unwell are most at risk from heat related conditions, so it’s important to make sure they are keeping safe.

“If you have an elderly or unwell friend, family member or neighbour, take the time to give them a call or drop by to check that they’re doing ok and coping with the heat.

“It’s important people stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water and keep cool either under an air-conditioner or fan, placing a wet towels on their neck or by having a cold shower or bath.

“Always ensure babies not over-dressed and give them extra breast or bottle feeds to keep their fluids up. Never leave children or pets in an unattended car in the heat.”

Ms Cameron said the warm weather, combined with other factors like water sports or drinking alcohol, posed a greater risk for people.

“We want everyone to have a great time this festive season; we don’t want people spending their holidays in an ambulance,” Ms Cameron said.

“Make sure you keep cool in the heat and if you’re drinking alcohol, keep hydrated with water between drinks.

“Wear a lifejacket while boating, have a pool fence at home and swim between the flags at the beach.

“In the event of an emergency people should always call triple zero (000) and our highly trained emergency call takers can talk you through life-saving first-aid while an ambulance is on the way.”

People who experience symptoms of heat exhaustion such as nausea, faintness and dizziness, loss of appetite, weakness, headaches, vomiting, sweating and reduced urine output should seek medical attention.

In an emergency people should call triple zero (000).

The new SA Health booklet Healthy in the Heat includes useful information on keeping cool, heat-related conditions and advice on what to do if people begin to develop symptoms.

For more information about preventing heat-related illness or to download copies of the guide, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/healthyintheheat

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