Despite the fact that heat waves in the Northern Territory are common place in the summer months, heat related death rates still top the list of deaths related to natural disaster. Many of those deaths could have been avoided had the victims known how to combat heat stroke.
Staying cool in the summer can present challenges for many Northern Territory homeowners. However, taking the time to stay cool in the gruelling heat could very well save your life. No matter what your station in life, these tips will help you combat the effects of the Australian sun.
Heat waves are defined as long periods of time when the weather is considerably hotter than usual and humidity is at its highest. During these periods certain people are vulnerable to increased exposure to the sun. The elderly and those who work outside are at particular risk.
Heat waves pose a danger to everyone in the Northern Territory, but you can take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the heat. It is also important to protect your pets during a heat wave. These tips will help you enjoy the summer months without worrying about the dangers of heat stroke.
Staying hydrated plays a major role in combating heat stroke. It is best to drink water and drink frequently. You may not feel thirsty but the effects of the sun will leave you dehydrated if you do not drink plenty of water. Keep water with you at all times – especially if you are travelling or working away from populated areas.
Avoid drinking anything that has the potential to cause dehydration. Tea & coffee, sodas and other fizzy drinks may quench your thirst but they will accelerate dehydration. Many of these drinks are diuretics, which will make you urinate more and lose vital fluids. If you are addicted to drinking tea or coffee, make sure that your supplement your intake with plenty of water.
Whenever possible, stay out of the sun. When you are at home you have the ability to shelter you and your family from the summer heat. Trees, reflective roofing materials, good insulation, and adequate ventilation will help you keep cool when the sun is at its strongest. Staying inside with the fans on will keep you cool and prevent heat stroke from becoming an issue.
If you must be out in the open, look for places that provide shelter and shade. Heat stroke can and often does strike without warning. Being able to reach a place that provides shade can make all the difference when your body is suffering from heat stroke. Take a hat, plenty of water and lather yourself in sunscreen for added protection.
Ideally, you should carry out any outside tasks when the sun is at its weakest. That means getting up early to perform outside tasks or waiting until the sun goes down. If you are not exposed to the sun the only thing you need to worry about is the humidity. You can battle humidity by drinking lots of water and staying hydrated while you are outside.
At Houspect we recommend spending as much time inside as possible during a heat wave. However, if your home is not properly ventilated you may still suffer from heat stroke. Make sure your blinds are turned down when the sun is at its peak. Always ensure that your air conditioning system is working before a heat wave strikes. The last thing you want is to be stuck with broken air conditioning when the sun comes out in full force.
Test your air conditioning regularly to ensure it is working to optimum conditions. Preparation is key when it comes to heat waves. If any of your air conditioning units need repaired, the cost is worth it Do not become another Australian heat wave death statistic. Take measures to protect you and your family so that you can all enjoy the summer sun.