Stay Cool This Summer
Christmas time in Australia is all about the great outdoors - and we love it; if we are not at the beach, we are playing backyard cricket or going on picnics. But we can have too much of a good thing - namely, heatstroke is a very real possibility in the searing Aussie heat - here are some pointers on how to enjoy our lovely summer without any unpleasant side effects:
- Don't get into those tight pants for the picnic, no matter how good they look: wear loose fitting clothing in natural fibres such as linen or cotton - this will allow air to circulate freely around your body - naturally cooling it.
- Be sunsmart - if you are sunburnt, your body loses some of its natural ability to cool itself down - in fact sunstroke and heatstroke go hand-in-hand. Wear a hat, stay in the shade and chose natural toxin-free sunscreen.
- Drink, drink, drink - loads of water will keep you hydrated. Unfortunately often drinks that are caffeinated such as coffee can dehydrate you further. Iced tea is also a good alternative- be mindful though, highly sugar laden drinks aren't great for anyone's health and should be avoided. Water is best.
- If you take any medications such as blood pressure tablets or diuretics, be careful as they may interfere with your body's ability to get rid of heat.
- Stay in the shade in the middle of the day - no one needs to be running around at midday in December in Australia!
- Simple tricks like wetting your shirt or using a cool collar, or even a wet facecloth work brilliantly to cool you down. As does running cool water on your pulse points, such as inside your wrists and your ankle.
- NEVER EVER EVER leave anybody in a parked car - this is the most common cause of heat-related deaths in children and animals. A car parked in the Aussie sun can reach searing temperatures in minutes. Take the time to bundle up the kids (or your dog) and take them with you - or have another adult who can stay in the car with the air conditioner running. Cracking the windows, or even parking in the shade makes no real difference - JUST DON'T DO IT.
SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- A high temperature - especially if it goes above 40 degrees C
- Confusion, agitation or slurred speech
- If you stop sweating - this is also a potentially dangerous sign.
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Flushed red skin that you can't seem to cool down.
- Rapid breathing or a fast pulse
Summer is fun! A few simple tricks can keep it that way - enjoy.