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Heat-Related Illness: Keeping Kool

| Health & Wellness

Right at Home details some heat-related warning signs.

Let's be honest, Australia is one hot country and heat-related illness is an issue that those who work in aged care need to address. Heat-related illness occurs when the body can no longer transfer enough heat in order to keep cool. High body temperatures, also known as hyperthermia, can develop rapidly in the Australian climate, especially in rooms with poor ventilation.

The elderly are most at risk of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion generally develops when a person is working or exercising in hot weather and does not drink enough fluids to replace those lost. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it can escalate to heat stroke, which is the most severe form of heat-related illness and requires immediate medical attention. Heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its temperature and continues to rise. Even with immediate medical treatment, heat stroke can be life-threatening and cause serious long-term problems.

Other types of heat-related illness include:

  • Heat rash occurs when the sweat ducts to the skin become blocked or swell, causing discomfort and itching.
  • Heat cramps occur in muscles after exercise from a loss of water, salt and minerals caused from sweating.
  • Heat edema is the swelling of the legs and hands, which can occur when sitting or standing for a long time in a hot environment.
  • Heat tetany or hyperventilation is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
  • Heat syncope, also known as fainting, occurs in individuals with low blood pressure. Excessive heat causes the blood vessels to expand and body fluids to gravitate to the legs.

Heat-related illness can be prevented by keeping individuals cool and helping them to remain hydrated. Caregivers and family members of the elderly in Australia, must take care and look for signs of heat-related illness, especially during the summer months. 

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently and age in their home. Right at Home Australia is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones, and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. ​

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 362 609 or visit our website.

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