Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Surviving the Heat

8 Jan 2013January is the hottest month in Australia. Extreme heat can be detrimental to those who have debilitating conditions or are in a wheelchair for most of the day. About 400 people die every year from heat strokes and many of them are elderly or disabled.

A heat stroke occurs when the body temperature rises causing the natural cooling system in our body to kick in. If this process can't get rid of the heat fast enough it will fail causing the vital body organs to heat up and eventually stop working, resulting in even more debilitating conditions or death.

What can be done to prevent overheating:

  • Drink water and sports drinks. Don't drink alcohol.
  • Keep a wet cloth to wet your face. This simulates sweat and cools the body.
  • Keep the back of your neck cool.
  • Don't wait until you are overheated to try to get cool.
  • Limit the time outside especially in direct sunlight.
  • Check on friends and neighbours and remind others to check on you.
  • Check the local news and forecast daily for weather and safety updates.
  • Don't cook with the stove or oven. Eat cool foods.
  • Wear clothes that are loose, lightweight and light-coloured and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Take a cool shower.
  • Go out early in the morning or late in the evening.

    What are signs that you are getting overheated:

  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Heavy Sweating
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Nausea

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