Wide Bay residents urged to stay sun safe and hydrated throughout summer
The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is urging people to ensure they stay properly hydrated and sun safe whether they are enjoying the beach, boat, bush or backyard this summer.
While Queensland is a wonderful place to enjoy the great outdoors, the hot weather also makes it very easy to become dehydrated, especially when physically active.
WBHHS Director of Public Health Dr Niall Conroy urged people to always be prepared and always bring water.
“It’s not just the elderly or children who can be affected by dehydration, it can affect anyone, even if you’re fit and healthy,” Dr Conroy said.
“Anyone whose body loses too much water can become dehydrated and there can be severe consequences such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke - you can suffer serious illness.
“It’s vital to always be carrying a litre or two of water if you are out in the summer heat – even if you’re only taking a short walk, run, cycle or paddle. If you’re heading out longer for a half or full day outside then you should carry more like 3-4 litres.
“You should be drinking water regularly throughout the day – don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
“It’s also a good idea to head out early to avoid the warmest parts of the day and even think about choosing locations that offering as much shade as possible.”
Symptoms of dehydration include thirstiness, a dry mouth, headache or light headedness or dizziness.
The best thing to do to avoid and treat dehydration is to drink water, and you can also use oral rehydration solutions to replace electrolytes. Avoid alcoholic, caffeinated or sugary drinks.
Dr Conroy also urged people to remember to stay sun safe by protecting themselves from harmful UV rays in multiple ways every time they are outdoors as the weather heats up.
“It’s important to always wear a hat, to use sunscreen and sunglasses, and where possible, a long-sleeved shirt and pants is also smart. Not only does this help protect against the sun, but also against insects such as ticks and mosquitoes,” Dr Conroy said.
On top of dehydration and sunburn, there are a number of other issues that can arise from being out in the heat.
“Aside from the risk of heat exhaustion, getting too hot can make other medical conditions worse, such as heart and lung disease. Therefore, it’s doubly important for people with these types of conditions to ensure they keep safe in the heat,” Dr Conroy said.
In 2019, there were more than 100 emergency department presentations across the Wide Bay for heat related illness such as heatstroke or sunstroke and so far this year the Wide Bay has had more than 60 presentations.
Emergency department presentations for heat related illness start to increase during the spring months and typically continue to rise throughout summer.
For more information on dehydration and how to avoid it, visit the Healthier.Happier website.