Prevent heat-related illness – advice for seniors
Hot weather may affect older people more than others. Some people may be at increased risk of heat-related illnesses and need special care in hot weather. Heat-related illness can also worsen pre-existing medical conditions. Older people who live alone, have chronic medical problems and take certain medications may need special care in hot weather.
If hot weather is predicted or present:
- Listen to the radio for updates on the weather and take action to keep yourself cool if the temperature rises above 30°C.
- Organise someone to ring and check on your wellbeing during hot weather.
- Provide your medical information to a friend, neighbour or family member including emergency contact information, medication list, medical conditions and telephone numbers of doctors. This information will allow speedy help in a crisis.
Stay hydrated and nourished
- Drink small amounts of water every 15 – 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty
- Drink cool drinks – avoid using ice, it can cause cramps
- Avoid drinks that cause dehydration – drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar
- Eat small regular meals and minimise hot food
- If you take medications, ask your doctor if you are at increased risk of heat stress in hot weather and whether you need to monitor how much you drink in the heat
- Monitor your urine output:
– if you are passing less urine than usual, you are not drinking enough
– urine should be a light straw colour – dark urine may be a sign of dehydration
Tip: Each morning, fill a large jug with water to drink and ensure it is finished by the end of the day.
- Stay inside between 10am and 3pm.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
- Wear lightweight, light-coloured, cotton clothing.
- To cool your body, use an air conditioner if you have one or take additional cool showers or use wet towels and sit in front of electric fan.
- Close your blinds and curtains to create shade inside your home.
Where to get help
For more information or support during heat event or a heatwave:
- talk to your careres, family or neighbours about what help they can provide you during hotter weather.
- call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time
- contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
In an emergency, call triple zero (000).