Heat and heatwaves can affect our health and the health of people we care for in different ways.
You may be more at risk of heat-related health problems due to your age, existing medical conditions, where you live and work, and your economic and social status.
Some heat-related health problems can affect anyone, regardless of existing health status. These are often referred to as heat-related illness.
When a person is exposed to heat, the body responds in ways to keep the body temperature from getting too high.
The body responds by increasing sweating to lose heat through evaporation of sweat on the skin and redistribution of blood towards the skin to be cooled.
Health problems can arise when:
Behaviours can contribute to effects that lead to heat-related health problems. For example:
Babies and young children are limited in their ability to regulate body temperature. In those over the age of 65, age-related changes to the body can also increase the risk of heat-related health problems.
It is important that we learn the
signs, symptoms and first-aid for heat-related illness in ourselves and those we care for.
Before, during and after hot weather it is important to check on family and friends who may be more at risk, especially if they live alone.
Read more about how to
plan ahead and beat the heat.