The Director of Public Health and the Chief Executive of Ambulance Tasmania today issued a joint warning about the possible impacts of the current heat event in Tasmania.
Director of Public Health Dr Roscoe Taylor said plans were in place to assist vulnerable persons in health facilities and aged care facilities.
"The Ambulance Service and Population Health Services have been working collaboratively for over 12 months to develop robust plans to provide advice and guidance to the public and health facilities when facing heat events," Dr Taylor said.
CEO Dominic Morgan from Ambulance Tasmania said that severe heat events had the potential to be life threatening and yet their effects could be relatively easily mitigated if the right steps are taken.
"While Tasmania does not often experience the high temperatures of the mainland states it would be a mistake to think that vulnerable people such as the very young and the elderly could not be significantly affected by higher than normal temperatures."
Mr Morgan advised Tasmanians to take a few simple precautions to prevent heat-related injuries today as hot weather again sweeps the state.
Mr Morgan said keeping hydrated was especially important in warmer weather.
"Drinking plenty of fluids during long, hot days is extremely important, particularly for the elderly," Mr Morgan said.
"The elderly are less able to cope with the heat and if you know a family member might be at risk from hot weather, please check on them regularly.
"Parents also need to make sure young children drink enough fluids when they are out in the sun for long periods.
"Children should also never be left alone in cars, as this can prove fatal in hot weather."
Mr. Morgan said that high temperatures often lead to increased calls for assistance to Ambulance Tasmania.
"For minor ailments people should consider following up with their General Practitioner in the first instance. In the event of a medical emergency they should always ring zero (000)," he said.
Keeping cool checklist
Avoid the worst of the weather:
- Plan your day – try to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Put off hard physical activity and household chores for a cooler day.
- Stay out of the sun and heat.
Dress for the weather:
- Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes.
- If you are outside, get into the shade and wear 30+ sunscreen, a hat, and clothing to prevent sunburn.
- Staying hydrated is especially important for young children and the elderly.
- Drink cool water regularly, even if you do not feel particularly thirsty.
- Carry a bottle of drinking water with you if you must be outside in the heat.
- If your doctor has limited your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather.
- Avoid alcohol, and hot or sugary drinks including tea and coffee - these can increase urine and make dehydration worse.
- Make ice in your freezer.
- Eat smaller cold meals such as salads and fruit.
If you get hot, cool down:
- Wet towels or cool packs on your arms and neck can cool you down.
- Try putting your feet in cool water.
- Have a cool shower or a cool bath.
It is recommended that anyone caring for another person who may be vulnerable to heat stress to visit http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/alerts/standing_health_alerts/extreme_heatand review the public information on avoiding the impacts of heat events.