Summer safety tips

summer sunset Victoria is set for a scorcher today with temperatures expected to hit 41 degrees. The hot weather particularly impacts older people, who are at risk of heat-related illnesses.

Allison Patchett, general manager of Quality and Risk at Uniting AgeWell, explained how the agency looks after its residents during extreme heat events.

“We ensure that the temperature in residents’ rooms and within the facility is kept comfortable, monitor entry/exit points to avoid the unsupervised departure of residents during extreme heat events; and be aware that residents are particularly at risk when there are high night-time temperatures,” she said.

“We use portable air conditioners, coolers and fans if the building is not air-conditioned, ensure small amounts of fluids are readily available, and offer residents alternative forms of fluid, such as jelly, ice-cream or fruit juice blocks and discourage alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.”

It is important to protect yourself and your loved ones from the heat. Here are some other tips to stay safe during the summer:

  • Check on your neighbours. Invite them into your house if they are not using, or do not have, air conditioning.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep a full glass of water within easy reach of older family members.
  • Keep curtains, shades, and blinds down during the day.
  • Take a cool bath or shower to lower your body temperature.
  • Prepare cold meals, like salads, that don’t require the oven.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to help hydrate the body.
  • If a family member is on medication, check to see if it increases the risk of heat stress.
  • If you are going out, wear a hat, put on sunscreen and try to stay in the shade.
  • Remember to take care of your pets by leaving water out for them.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Provide your family and friends with contact numbers in case of an emergency.
  • Be aware of signs of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Here is a list of potential warning signs.
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