How to be a kewl koala this summer

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It’s officially summer and hot, sweaty days are fast approaching (or already here) and naturally our thoughts turn to ways to keep cool and beat the heat. You have heard of slip, slop, slap, seek and slide, but there are more ways to beat the heat and heat-related illness.

Dedicate some koala-ty time reading the below to help you and those you care for avoid heat-related illness this summer!

Heading outside?

It’s best to plan your day to keep your activity to a minimum during the hottest part of the day. If you can, try to avoid going out between 11am to 3pm. If you’re unable to avoid this, wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, porous clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. Rest regularly in the shade and drink plenty of water. Aim to drink two to three litres at regularly internal even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide

Did you know that Queensland’s UV levels are high enough that they’re dangerous to your skin year around? And that in summer, Queensland’s UV levels increase to the extremes of 14 or 15. It is critical that you are sun safe during summer.

  • Slip on protective clothing
  • Slop on SPF30 or higher sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses.

A note on sunscreen. When applying sunscreen, you should:

  • Apply on clean, dry skin 20 minutes before going outside. This gives you the greatest level of protection.
  • Apply generously to ensure you get maximum protection. On an average-sized adult, 35 ml should be applied; this is equivalent to at least one teaspoon of sunscreen per limb (i.e. per arm, leg etc)
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and more regularly if swimming or sweating
  • Check the expiry date!
  • Don’t leave sunscreen in hot places such as cars, as excessive heat can reduce its effectiveness.

Stay as cool as possible

If you’re feeling the heat, hop in a cool bath or a shower. It’s also a good idea to wrap a wet washcloth around your neck. If you’re home isn’t airconditioned, head somewhere like a shopping centre, library, or cinema.

Check on others

It’s a good idea to make a list of the family, friends, and neighbours you might want to check in on hot days. Give them a call or pop around to check in on them. There are some people who are at higher risk of harm from heat related illness, such as:

  • Elderly people
  • Babies and very young children
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People with medical conditions
  • People who take certain medication
  • People with alcohol or other drug problems
  • People a with intellectual disability or additional needs
  • People who are physical active such as tradespeople and athletes.

Elderly people often live on their own and may not have air conditions or live with medical illnesses. If you have any elderly family or neighbours, it’s a good idea to check on them regularly.

If you are a parent or carer of children and want to make sure you’re looking after them well this summer visit our blog here - ‘How to care for your children in summer’.

Don’t forget to check on your paw pals

Animals can also be affected by heat-related illness. Don’t forget to check on your pets and animals, refill their water daily and make sure they have shaded areas to escape the heat. For more tips on looking after your pets this summer visit RSPCA Queensland: Pet Tips for Summer.

Keep hydrated

Adults need to drink two to three litres of water a day at regular intervals, even if you don’t feel thirsty. During particularly hot days it’s a good idea to limit your intake of alcohol, soft drinks, sports drinks, tea or coffee as these drinks can cause dehydration. Water is best when it comes to staying hydrated.

You can check to see how hydrated you are by the colour of your wee. Your wee should be clear or pale straw, if its darker you need to drink more water.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have the koalafications to beat this summer heat!

More information:

  • Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice
  • Contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
  • In an emergency call 000

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