By Cher Jimenez
People are advised to keep cool and observe safety measures as simple as drinking water to stay hydrated as Gippsland’s temperatures continue to be high this week.
Latrobe Community Health Service doctor Hieu Tran said people should drink a minimum of two litres of water a day to remain hydrated.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or not,” he said.
Dr Tran said eating fruits can also help hydrate the body but advised against drinking juices and soda as they can be dehydrating.
He said too much coffee and tea could also dry up fluid in the body.
A lack of fluid can cause dehydration and organ dysfunction, he said.
Dr Tran said some signs of dehydration included feeling thirsty, dried lips, feeling lightheaded, having palpitations, and feeling warm or flushed.
“If your urine is quite dark yellow, you’re probably quite dehydrated,” he said.
He added that water essentially dilutes toxins in the body and results in light coloured urine.
Dr Tran said patients with medical conditions such as heart and kidney issues were restricted to a litre and a half.
“They should stay within their fluid restriction but should catch up with their GP if they feel light-headed,” he said.
Dr Tran said elderly people as well as children were also vulnerable to dehydration and advised they remain indoors as much as possible and keep a bottle of water within reach.
He said people should avoid being out in the sun from 10am to 3pm but for those whose work required being outdoors to apply sunscreen, drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade.
“Go to a cooler area and take a break for 15 minutes. If you feel light-headed you should not be working outdoors [and] try changing shifts,” he said.
Forest Fire Management Victoria advised people to look after their pets during the hot summer weather as they can also suffer from heat stress.
“Wildlife can be affected by hot weather and may behave differently. There are several things members of the community can do to help wildlife survive the heat,” FFMV said.
People can place bowls of water around their garden and spray mist into trees and shrubs to create cooler niches for pets to use to escape the heat.
Additional heat health alerts are available on emergency.vic.gov.au while information on how to assist wildlife experiencing heat stress is available at wildlife.vic.gov.au.