Stay hydrated and sun safe during the summer months
Queensland has seen 170 heat related illness emergency department presentations in November, up nearly 55 per cent from the previous month.
November recorded the second highest number of presentations for heat related illness this year, only surpassed by January 2020 which saw 194 presentations.
With summer well underway, Queenslanders are reminded of the importance of proper hydration and sun safety in hot weather.
Queensland Health spokesperson Bronwyn Nardi said under the hot Queensland sun, it’s very easy to become dehydrated, especially when physically active, so it’s important to be prepared and always bring water when you leave the house.
“Dehydration is the result of your body losing too much water and not being replaced quickly enough. Your body can lose water very quickly in hot weather by sweating, and you also lose water simply by exhaling,” Ms Nardi said.
“It’s not just the elderly or children that can be affected by dehydration and heat illness, it can affect any Queenslander, even if you’re fit and healthy.
“Dehydration can have serious consequences such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and you can suffer serious illness, and in some cases, it has been fatal,” she said.
Ms Nardi said symptoms of dehydration include thirstiness, a dry mouth, headache or light headedness or dizziness, and urine that is a darker yellow than usual and less of it.
“Having plenty of water is especially important when you’re exercising, especially outdoors. Even if you’re heading out on a short walk, run, cycle or paddle, you should always be carrying water during the warmer months – aim for at least one litre per person,” Ms Nardi said.
“If you’re heading out for a half or full day on the water or in the bush, it’s recommended to carry at least 3-4 litres of water.
“It’s also a good idea to head out early to avoid the warmest parts of the day between 11am and 3pm, and choose locations offering some shade as much as possible,” Ms Nardi said.
The best thing to do to avoid and treat dehydration is to drink water, and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated or sugary drinks as much as possible as they won’t help quench your thirst. You can also use oral rehydration solutions to replace electrolytes lost by sweating.
Ms Nardi added that everyone should be drinking water regularly throughout the day in hot weather – don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Even if you’re not doing a lot of exercise, you should be drinking 2-3 litres a day – and more if you are sweating and need to replace the water you’re losing.
Ms Nardi also encouraged people to protect themselves from harmful UV rays by wearing a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses when they are outdoors, and where possible, light-coloured long-sleeved shirt and pants.
This year through to the end of November, there have been 805 emergency department presentations for heat related illness, with the most presentations in the Cairns and Hinterland, Central Queensland, Darling Downs and Metro North Hospital and Health Service regions.
For more information on dehydration and how to avoid it, visit the Healthier.Happier website.
Emergency Department Presentations for Heat Related Illness 2018, 2019 and 2020 (Year to Date) by Hospital and Health Service (HHS):
Cairns & Hinterland
Torres & Cape
Media contact: 3708 5376