Advice of how to cope with extreme heat

Victoria is once again facing another hot, dry summer.

And while that means sunny days and time spent with family and friends it also means thinking about how to stay healthy and safe in the heat.

Extreme heat can affect anyone, but older people are especially vulnerable to heat stress and heat-related illnesses.

So, as Commissioner for Senior Victorians, I am encouraging all seniors to prepare for days of extreme heat.

If you have a chronic health condition, or are taking medication, talk to your doctor so you know what to do.

Some medications, for example, can limit awareness of physical discomfort which means that heat-related illness symptoms may be ignored.

And now is a good time to make your home as heat resistant as possible.

Check that devices such as air-conditioners, air-coolers, fans, blinds or refrigerators are in full working order.

If you lose power, contact your provider on the Faults and Emergencies number on your most recent electricity bill.

A power outage guide is also available at www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/power-outage-guide

When a hot day arrives, remember to stay cool indoors at home as much as you can.

If that’s not possible think about a Plan B to escape the heat such as staying with a friend or family member with air conditioning.

As well as asking for help if feeling the heat, seniors are reminded to:

Delay any outdoor and strenuous activities such as sport, gardening and home improvements;

Drink plenty of water;

If your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather;

Eat small cold meals more often;

Wear loose, light-coloured clothes; and,

Keep cool using wet towels.

As a community we should also look out for one another.

I call on friends, family and neighbours to check on older community members to see if they need help.

It only takes a few minutes to make contact and a phone call, or even helping with practical tasks like pulling down blinds, may make all the difference.

More information on heat health is available at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

You can also subscribe to receive heat alerts by email by visiting www.health.vic.gov.au/subscribe

For health concerns call your doctor or Nurse-on-Call on 1300 60 60 24.

These are commonsense and simple steps but being prepared and taking action might help save your life, or the life of someone you care about during extreme heat this summer.

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