Staying safe in extreme heat

Article by:  Better Health Channel

Prevent heat-related health problems by keeping cool and staying hydrated during hot weather. Plan ahead and check in with others.

Keep cool:

  • Use air conditioning if available. The cost of air-conditioning can be reduced by using a fan at the same time, and increasing the thermostat temperature on your AC unit to 26-27˚C.
  • Electric fans can help cool the body when the indoor temperature is below 39-40˚C.
  • Keep your skin wet using a spray bottle or damp sponge.
  • Soak a towel in cool tap water and wrap it loosely around your head.
  • Take cool showers or foot baths with cool tap water.
  • Wrap ice cubes in a damp towel and drape around your neck.
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Consider visiting an air-conditioned building such as a shopping centre or public library.
  • Use blinds or curtains to block sun from shining directly through windows.
  • Open windows and doors if you think it is hotter indoors than outdoors.
  • Stay hydrated:

During days when you are exposed to extreme heat, keep drinking water before you feel thirsty, especially if outdoors and performing physical activity. If your doctor has asked that you limit your fluid intake, ask them how much water you should drink during hot weather. Whenever you leave home, always take a water bottle with you. Watch for signs of dehydration like feeling thirsty, lightheaded, having a dry mouth, tiredness, having dark-coloured, strong-smelling urine or passing less urine than usual.

Check in with others

A quick call can make a big difference. Let family, friends and neighbours know you are OK or check in with those at increased risk or who may need your support during days of extreme heat.

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