Ah, summer. It’s hard to beat the long, golden-hued days between late December and March-ish, when the air is warm, toes come out, and ice cream becomes a staple food group. Except when the heat moves past pleasant to unbearable. North Canterbury has already hit 34.6C this year and forecasters are warning there could be more such temperatures to come – possibly even higher.
Extreme heat isn't just uncomfortable. It can be dangerous, too.
It’s important to be alert to heat-related illnesses, both in yourself and others. Signs of heat exhaustion, or the more serious heat stroke, include things like headache, painful cramps, dizziness, confusion, weakness, nausea, heavy sweating, flushed skin, rapid heartbeat, and thirst.
Seniors, as well as the very young, are more at risk because they are less able to adjust to sudden temperature changes. Older bodies hold more heat and don’t release as much sweat, which can put internal systems under stress.
Keep an eye on each other.
If you’re worried you or someone around you might be suffering from heat stroke it’s vital to move to a cool place and rest, remove excess clothing, place cool compresses on skin, and drink sports drinks containing salt and sugar. If there’s no improvement get the person to A&E quickly, as IV fluids might be needed.
Of course, better yet is to avoid overheating to begin with. Here are a few tips to keep you, and your home, cool when the mercury creeps into the danger zone: