Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health is reminding Cantabrians to keep cool and hydrated as temperatures are set to sizzle across the region for several days in a row.
Hot weather is forecast for Canterbury with temperatures predicted to be 30 degrees or above for four consecutive days from Thursday 2 February to Sunday 5 February.
Dr Cheryl Brunton, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health for Te Whatu Ora, National Public Health Service, says people need to take sensible precautions while temperatures are this high and for prolonged periods.
“Over the next few days, if your plans involve being outdoors, it’s important that you stay out of the sun where possible, ensure people and pets aren’t left alone in stationary cars and avoid extreme physical exertion especially during the hottest part of the day.
“While the elderly, infants and children, women who are pregnant, people suffering from chronic, acute and severe illness are more at risk, heat can affect us all and overheating is a condition that can prove fatal,” says Dr Brunton.
There are some simple steps that we can all take to reduce the risk to our health when the temperatures are high. They include:
- Avoiding going outside during the hottest time of the day
- Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting, light coloured cotton clothes.
Dr Brunton says if you are going to be exposed to hot weather for long periods of time make sure you carry water and drink at least half a litre an hour, allow for more breaks in the shade and reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. If you are working outdoors try to schedule the hardest work in the coolest part of the day.
“Aside from being SunSmart (Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap) if you have to go outside, you can keep your house cool by closing curtains on windows that get direct sun, opening windows to get a breeze if it’s cooler out than in, and where possible consider using the cool cycle on heat pumps.
If it’s not possible to keep your home cool, you should look to spend a few hours of the day in a cool place e.g., an indoor swimming pool, an air-conditioned public building, a marae or church, all of which tend to be cool in summer,” says Dr Brunton.
People should keep medicines below 25C degrees or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
If you feel dizzy, weak or have an intense thirst or headache you may be dehydrated. Drink some water and rest in a cool place. If your symptoms persist or you’re concerned about your health, or someone else’s, seek medical advice. You can call your general practice team 24/7 for care around the clock – after hours a nurse can provide free health advice and tell you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen urgently.