Extreme heat is a killer. Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other natural disaster in Australia.

As Victoria braces for soaring temperatures in the coming day / week/s ahead, it was important to take a moment to think about how you and your family, friends, and neighbours can stay safe in the heat.

This year, we’re expecting a hot summer, and that sadly means more death or illness  from extreme heat. It’s a sobering fact, but extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any natural disaster. .

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions occurring when the body’s temperature rises and the internal organs start to shut down. Symptoms of heat exhaustion range from muscle cramps, dizziness to nausea, vomiting and fainting.

The risk of heat stress is higher for older people, particularly if they are on medication. Blood pressure medication, heart medication, antihistamines, diuretics (water pills), antidepressants and antipsychotics all affect the way the body reacts to heat.

There are things we can all do to stay safe in extreme heat like drinking at least two litres of water a day, seeking out air-conditioned buildings, drawing your blinds to keep the heat out and taking cool showers.

We can also keep an eye on people we know who may be at greater risk of heat exhaustion like our neighbours who live alone, young children, or people with a medical condition.

Residents should make the most of cooler, public spaces if they could not beat the heat at home.

For really hot days, if you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting a friend who does, or an air-conditioned shopping centre or public library.                                                          

If you or anyone you know feels unwell on a hot day call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24, or call 000 in an emergency.

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