Summer is probably the most beloved season in Australia, a time to explore the outdoors, head to the beach and see friends and family. With 2020 being the year that it is, we thought we’d share a whole range of safety tips to make the season as enjoyable and hazard free as possible!
Don’t Let the Heat Get to You
Extreme heat can affect anyone, although the most vulnerable are seniors, babies and young children, and people suffering from medical conditions. The sunshine may look inviting, but it can quickly overwhelm the body’s defences and lead to severe and even fatal incidents including heatstroke, dehydration, sunburn, heart attacks, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and heat stress. To avoid putting your body under dangerous level of strain this summer:
- Stay hydrated – Make sure you are drinking 1.5-2 litres of water a day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. This is especially important for the elderly, who often do not realise they are thirsty at all. Take a few litres of water with you wherever you go in the car or when walking. Get creative with your water intake – make fruity slushies with lots of ice, drink smoothies and herbal teas. It all counts!
- Stay out of the heat of the day – The hottest times of day are between 11am and 3pm, so head indoors during this time of the day rather than staying on the beach or in the garden, even if there’s a cool breeze. Keep outdoor sports to the cooler hours of the evening and morning, especially during heatwaves. Treat yourself to a siesta, read a book or catch up on work in an air conditioned space, then head out to enjoy the late afternoon.
- Protect your skin – Always wear a high SPF sunscreen and make it part of your daily routine. Make sure it’s one that’s ocean reef-friendly if you’re heading to the beach. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and take a light cover-up wherever you go to shield your skin while you’re out and about.
- Protect your eyes – UVA and UVB rays do severe, irreparable damage to the eyes, leading to devastating conditions like glaucoma. Always wear high-quality 100% protective sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors – especially at the beach, where the sun’s reflection off the water intensifies damage.
- Limit your booze – Drinking increases over the festive season and everyone in Australia loves a good party! However, alcohol can quickly dehydrate you. Pace yourself, drinking one large glass of water between each alcoholic beverage, and limit yourself to 4 drinks a day.
Know the Signs of Heat Stress
The early signs of heat stress include feeling hot and unable to cool down, flushed, and fatigued. If you or a loved one starts experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to go inside, hydrate and rest somewhere shady and cool. If you cannot cool down, it’s time to head to the doctor – especially if you are in a vulnerable group.
The same applies to pets! Avoid walking your dog when it’s hot out, always keep plenty of water available to them and watch for excessive panting/drooling and fatigue. If your pup shows these symptoms, head to the vet – heatstroke can be deadly.
Have Your First Aid Kit Stocked and Learn CPR
Whether you are going for a bush walk, swim at the beach, out fishing or having a BBQ at home, it’s important to have a well stoked First Aid Kit on hand and know what to do if things go wrong. In addition to standard medications, plasters and bandages, your kit should contain bottled water, vinegar (for jellyfish and bluebottle stings) and antihistamine.
In addition, it’s good to know how to perform CPR and to find out if the place you’re going to has an AED (automated external defibrillator) on hand. With so many swimming activities and families of all ages gathering together, risks of drownings, SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) and other emergency health complications increase. At the same time, you are more likely to be far away from a hospital, and emergency services will be under pressure due to an increase in emergency incidents. Knowing CPR and how to use a defibrillator is critical in these circumstances, allowing you to act and help save a life in the first critical 4 minutes before severe brain and organ damage occurs, giving the victim the best chance of survival.
If you are interested in buying an AED for your home, learning how to use one or learning how to do CPR, then contact DefibsPlus today. Our HeartSmart Program will give you all the training you need to keep your family safe and sound over the summer and beyond.