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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
With a serious heatwave being forecast to hit WA later this week, the AMA (WA) has urged the community to avoid long periods in the sun and to be properly prepared to recognise and treat heat exhaustion, AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
“Heatwaves can be very dangerous, particularly with the high humidity we get in Western Australia,” Dr Gannon said.
“Hot weather combined with high humidity reduces the human body’s ability to cool itself through sweating, which can lead to excessive overheating. Heat exhaustion is a silent killer so it is important to remain aware of the impact of high temperatures, especially on the young and elderly.
“It’s very important for people to be able to recognise the symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as an increased heart-rate, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, cramps and nausea,” Dr Gannon said.
“Anyone experiencing these conditions should take quick action to cool down, drink some water and find some shade.
“If symptoms persist, seek medical attention immediately.”
Dr Gannon also advises against playing rigorous sports or engaging in intense physical activities during heatwaves, and to try limit the time spent outside – especially during midday.
“We advise people to remain mindful that they should take it easy during hot weather conditions, drink lots of water throughout the day, apply sunscreen regularly , limit the consumption of dehydrating drinks like caffeine and alcohol, wear a hat and light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing,” he said.
“Some people in the community are more at risk than others, so we ask you to keep an eye out for those who need it most.
“People with medical conditions such as heart disease, pregnant women, young children and the elderly are at a higher risk from heat waves, so we ask members of the community to be mindful of that and to look after your neighbours,” Dr Gannon said.
The AMA (WA) recommends the following heatwave tips:
• Drink lots of water, especially for children
• Avoid long periods in the sun
• Apply effective sunscreen lotions if you must go outside
• Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption
• Wear loose fitting clothing
• Check on your elderly neighbours.