Hot weather safety

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Hot weather is a fact of life during the Western Australian summer, and heat waves can cause our bodies to react in a variety of ways.

So how can the heat affect you, and what can you do if you – or someone you are with – suffers from heat-related illness?

Heat stress

Heat stress happens when our body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. This can lead to tiredness, irritability, muscular cramps and inattention, increasing the risk of being involved in an accident.
Heat stress can also lead to a range of medical conditions, the most severe of which – heat stroke – can be fatal if not treated immediately. Learn more about these conditions here.

Hot weather checklist

  • Wear protective clothing, such as a wide brim hat, long sleeves & pants, sun glasses & sun screen
  • Replace fluid loss by drinking water and electrolyte drinks at regular intervals
  • Rest in a cool place with some type of air circulation
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Heat rash

A heat rash appears when the perspiration glands get clogged, but the body continues to perspire. This is a sign of diminished cooling capacity.

Treatment for heat rash

  • Drink water — particularly avoid alcohol, tea and coffee.
  • Shower in lukewarm water to help open the pores.
  • Move to a cooler, less humid environment.
  • Keep the affected area dry.
  • Try using unperfumed talcum powder to increase comfort.
  • Avoid using ointments or creams, as they keep the skin warm and moist, and may make the condition worse.

Heat cramps

Heat cramps can include muscle pains or spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms or legs. They often occur after strenuous activity in a hot environment, when the body gets depleted of salt and water.

Treatment for heat cramps

  • Stop activity and sit quietly in a cool place.
  • Increase fluid intake.
  • Some massage of the cramped muscles will speed up relief.
  • Rest for a few hours before returning to activity.
  • Seek medical help if there is no improvement.

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