BEING home to many rural properties, residents in Shepparton and surrounding areas are prone to heatstroke as maintaining their land, animals and going about their daily business doesn’t stop just because we are prone to extreme temperatures.
Heatstroke is no joke, it’s a life-threatening condition in which the body overheats when it can no longer maintain a healthy temperature. You can avoid heatstroke by taking precautions in very hot weather.
Heatstroke occurs when a person’s body temperature rises from about 37°C to above 40.5°C. It is sometimes called hyperthermia (not to be confused with hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s temperature drops significantly).
Heatstroke needs immediate first aid to lower the body temperature as quickly as possible, and is considered a medical emergency. Go to your nearest hospital emergency department or call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance if you or someone else is experiencing symptoms. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are milder types of heat-related illness.
Signs of heatstroke include:
- Dizziness, confusion, seizures or loss of consciousness
- Sudden rise in body temperature
- Rapid pulse and fast, shallow breathing
- Hot and dry and possibly red skin, possibly with no sweat
- Dry, swollen tongue
- Headache, nausea or vomiting Intense thirst
- Trouble speaking, slurred speech Problems concentrating or coordinating movements
- Aggressive or strange behaviour
Ways to prevent heat stroke include:
- Help others – visit or phone friends, family and neighbours who are more at risk
- Keep children cool and give them lots to drink
- Ensure pets have plenty of water and shade
- Drink plenty of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid hot or sugary drinks
- Keep your house cool – close windows, shut curtains and blinds, and use air-conditioning if you have it
- Keep cool – try to avoid direct sun
- Wear a hat and lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing