Beat the heat as temps rise

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Temperatures reached the high 30s in the first fortnight of 2021.
Camera IconTemperatures reached the high 30s in the first fortnight of 2021.

After a sweltering two weeks in the region, Red Cross Australia has offered some important tips to help West Aussies beat the heat this summer.

Temperatures last week nudged the mid-30s, prompting calls for locals to keep cool and know the signs of heat-stroke.

“Extreme hot weather can cause serious health problems ... we’re urging people to be prepared,” Red Cross regional area leader Janie McCullagh said. “Heat stroke can be life-threatening ... knowing how to respond can be critical.”

The hot weather comes just as we leave behind 2020, the country’s fourth-hottest year on record, in which temperatures were 1.15C higher than average.

Ms McCullagh said symptoms associated with heat stroke included confusion, feeling overly hot and, in extreme cases, vomiting. “The confidence to know what to do in a first-aid emergency can make the difference between a positive outcome and a tragedy,” she said.

Red Cross’ tips for coping with the heat include drinking regularly, staying indoors, taking cold showers, ensuring sufficient air circulation in your home, seeking out shade when outdoors, and looking out for more heat-susceptible people.

Busselton vet Richard Lucas said heat stroke was also common among dogs during summer.

“A main thing is to limit exercise during the hotter parts of the day, only go out for walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon,” he said. “Do not leave your dog in the car — that is the one biggest reason we get dogs with heat stress coming into the hospital.

“It only takes five to 10 minutes for a dog to go from looking fine to being in a very bad way.”

Dr Lucas said a dog suffering from heatstroke might have symptoms of excessive panting and drooling, a red gum colour, look distressed or confused, and appear weak.

More information on redcross.org.au/heatwave.

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