Doctors warn heat stroke can be fatal

IT'S NOT new news the weather is getting hotter, but it's easy to forget how dangerous the heat can really be.

Weather forecasters have predicted soaring temperatures over the next few days and with the heat being potentially life threatening, doctors have stressed the importance of taking proper precautions.

Rockhampton is set to reach 38 degrees today, 35 on Saturday and 34 on Sunday, with a chance of storms over the weekend.

The Australia Medical Association Queensland President Dr Chris Zappala said weather like this could be fatal so it's important to take care of yourself and those around you.

"Heat-waves are the most deadly natural phenomenon in Australia, claiming hundreds of lives each year," Dr Zappala said.

"All of us should take care but it's particularly important for groups such as the sick, elderly, babies, pregnant women, and breast-feeding mothers."

Yesterday evening an ambulance crew was called out to reports of a 30-year-old woman who was not alert after suffering from heat exposure in Norman Gardens, but a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson said the woman declined treatment.

Crews had also attended to other people suffering from heat exposure who were mainly people working outdoors such as builders and landscapers.

Dr Zappala pointed out that the extreme heat could make people vulnerable to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

"The symptoms of heat exhaustion include a pale complexion, sweating, rapid heart rate, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting," he said.

"If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should take immediate steps to lower your body temperature.

"Lie down somewhere cool, drink cool water, remove your outer clothing and contact your GP."

If left untreated, heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke, possible seizure, collapse and loss of consciousness.

In the case of suspected heat stroke, call an ambulance immediately.


AMA Queensland's guide to beating the heat:

1. Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty.

2. Take advantage of air-conditioned and cool environments.

3. Wet towels, cold showers and swimming pools are a great way to keep cool.

4. Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

5. When you're outside, try to stay in the shade and always carry water.

6. Wear a hat, light, loose-fitting clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself

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