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The Risks of Heat Exhaustion and How to Avoid it

| Health & Wellness

It’s summer in Australia and we all know what that means. Sun, and lots of it. At this time of the year, Right at Home asks families to be vigilant when caring for their elderly loved ones or loved ones living with a disability.

Heat-related illness can easily sneak up on the elderly and those living with a disability. It occurs when the body can no longer transfer enough heat (sweating) to keep cool. A high body temperature, also known as hyperthermia, can develop rapidly in extremely hot environments. Hot temperatures also can build up in small spaces with poor ventilation. 

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two types of heat-related illness. 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 body temperature continues to rise, often to 39° C or higher. 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 because sweating causes the body to lose water, salt and minerals
  • Heat edema – Swelling in the legs and hands, which can occur when sitting or standing for a long time in a hot environment
  • Heat tetany – Hyperventilation and heat stress usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment
  • Heat syncope – Fainting due to low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand and body fluids gravitate to the legs

Heat-related illness can be prevented by keeping the body cool and avoiding dehydration in hot environments. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to treat many heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke need immediate medical treatment. 

If you are worried about heat-related illness in your family, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Right at Home is dedicated to looking after the most vulnerable members of our community.

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links:

Australian Government Department of Health

Victorian Health and Human Services

NSW Health

Queensland Health

ACT Health

WA Department of Health

Tasmanian Department of Health

Northern Territory Department of Health

SA Health

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home 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.

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite caredementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.

Right at Home Offices in Australia: Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Upper North ShoreSydney Central and Eastern SuburbsSydney Northern BeachesSydney North WestSydney The HillsPadstow St GeorgeMacarthur PenrithNewcastle; Hunter & Port StephensSouthern NSWToowoomba- Darling DownsSunshine Coast and Gympie; MackayCentral QueenslandTownsville; Far North QueenslandGold Coast SouthGold Coast NorthNorthern RiversBrisbane BaysideBrisbane SouthBrisbane NorthBrisbane WestPerth MidlandPerth Northern Suburbs; Perth West CoastKalgoorlie WheatbeltMoreton Bay RegionSydney Inner WestSydney RydeGreater Logan


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