Health advice for hot weather

Health advice for hot weather

Be aware of the risks associated with heat stress

Be aware of the risks associated with heat stress

With temperatures across Perth expected to climb this week, and with warm nights as well as hot days, WA Health is reminding people of the risks associated with heat stress.

At risk groups

Some people can be particularly vulnerable in hot temperatures and may be at risk of developing heat-related illness. At risk groups include:

  • people older than 65
  • children younger than two years
  • women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • people with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • those on certain drugs, such as medication for mental illness

People who work outside or who are not used to the heat, such as travellers from overseas, may also be at a higher risk.

Taking extra care to remain hydrated and keep cool during the hot summer months is important.

Although the human body can cope well in temperatures less than 32 degrees, higher temperatures can sometimes make it hard for the body to cool itself.

The body loses heat by sweating, but when temperatures are consistently high, sweating isn't enough to cool down adequately.

Symptoms and effects of heat stress

The effects of heat stress can be mild and include muscle cramps, weakness and headache.

Effects may also build up over a number of days, as people become exhausted from the heat, which can exacerbate heart disease and other chronic problems.

It is important to seek urgent medical advice if you experience more severe symptoms, such as:

  • high body temperature
  • nausea
  • dry, red, hot skin
  • rapid heart rate.

People should take the following precautions to help prevent heat-related illness:

  • Check on older, sick and frail people who may need help coping with the heat
  • Never leave anyone in a closed car
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids (note: If your doctor normally limits your fluids or you are on fluid tablets, you may need to check how much to drink while the weather is hot)
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Reduce physical activity
  • Stay indoors, if possible in air-conditioning
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
  • Apply sunscreen at regular intervals while outdoors
  • Avoid outdoor activity and exercise during the hottest part of the day
  • Stay in shaded areas when outdoors if possible
  • Don't rely on fans unless there is adequate ventilation
  • Know the signs of heat stress and seek medical attention if necessary.

For more information, including fact sheets visit: heat events

For health advice call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 or call 000 in an emergency.

Pool and spa safety

The predicted high temperatures this week significantly increases the possibility of amoeba thriving in swimming/wading pools and spas.

Pool owners should carefully monitor chlorine levels to ensure they remain within safe limits and that pH levels remain between 7.2 and 7.6.

Wading pool water should be changed after each use.

Owners with pool covers should be careful to check their water more frequently, as covers allow water temperatures to rise quickly.

If your pool or spa water is dirty, you should avoid using them until the water quality and safety can be assured.

For more information, visit pool safety or contact your Local Government environmental health officer.

For further information or to submit a story idea, please contact communications@health.wa.gov.au