Watch for danger signs of heat stress as temperatures rise

WITH temperatures at record levels in parts of Queensland and Australia, elderly residents are reminded to keep cool and stay hydrated this summer.

Queensland's chief health officer, Jeannette Young, said the elderly, especially those who lived alone, were more prone to heat-related illness.

She said they had difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in temperature.

"You should make sure your elderly relative or friend's home is well ventilated and, if they don't have air-conditioning or ceiling fans, ask them to go shopping or something similar for some respite from the heat," she said.

Queensland Ambulance Service Acting Commissioner David Eeles agreed it was important to look out for the elderly during periods of hot weather and monitor their condition.

"If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, you can help them protect themselves from heat-related illness just by keeping in touch," he said.

"Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

Dr Young said people should be aware of what to do if they suspected someone was suffering from a heat-related illness.

"Symptoms of heat stress to watch out for can include headaches, dizziness, nausea and loss of co-ordination," she said.

"If you think someone is suffering the effects of heat stress, lie them down in a cool place and apply cool, wet cloths to their wrists.

"You should also give the person regular, small sips of water.

If they do not recover quickly, call 000 immediately."


 Heat stress can result in irreversible damage to the body and brain, or even death.

Some tips for preventing sun stroke include: drinking water regularly; avoiding alcohol, coffee and soft drinks; keeping cool by increasing air circulation in the home; wearing light clothing; and - if going outside - staying in the shade.

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