A heat wave can cause a number of health issues including dehydration, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and food poisoning. The rising temperatures and high humidity can also make food prep harder and raise the risk of microbial contamination. Those who are at higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses include people who work outside, elderly persons living alone, and those who have chronic medical conditions or take certain medications.
If you feel ill, stop whatever activity you’re doing and seek medical attention immediately. If you can’t get to a clinic, try placing cool, wet towels or ice packs around your body (neck, forehead and under arms); spray yourself with water from a hose or shower; sit in a tub filled with cold water; or drink a cool non-alcoholic beverage. If you have symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, low blood pressure or a headache, seek emergency medical treatment.
Heat stroke is an emergency and can damage your brain, kidneys or heart. It can lead to death in very extreme cases. Symptoms may start gradually or suddenly, such as confusion or loss of consciousness. To prevent heat stroke, keep yourself hydrated by drinking fluids such as water or fruit juice; avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks; using a fan, if possible; and covering yourself with light clothing. Also, remember the'slip, slop, slap and slide' sun safety tips of slip on a wide-brimmed hat; slop on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30; slap on some protective clothing; and slide on sunglasses.