by Jonno Colfs
AS THE Southern Downs swelters under oppressive and severe heatwave conditions, the more vulnerable members of our community are at a much greater risk of heat-related illnesses.
Those within the community who are elderly, babies, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers and those who suffer pre-existing medical conditions or take certain medications are in the high-risk category.
Physically active people, such as manual workers like builders or those that play sport may also easily become dehydrated or overheat. So far during this heat wave paramedics have responded to 10 cases in the Darling Downs region (out of a state wide total of 57).
In an attempt to reduce the issues that may arise during weather such as is affecting the Southern Downs this week authorities have spoken out about way people can minimise their risk.
Queensland Ambulance Service media officer Andrew Kos said QAS wanted to remind residents to keep hydrated and stay cool during the hot weather.
"Everyone is potentially at risk of suffering a heat-related illness during periods of high temperatures,” he said.
"Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body as cool as possible can reduce the risk of heat-related illness and plan ahead to stay healthy during times of hot weather.
"Switch drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine or that are high in sugar with water and eat small meals often to stay hydrated.
"Stay cool by wearing light, loose cotton clothing and stay indoors or find a cool shady spot when the sun is at its hottest between 10am and 3pm.
"Open windows and doors and use fans to circulate air or turn on your air-conditioner to reduce the temperature indoors.”
Mr Kos said important signs to watch out for included headaches, nausea, cramps, fainting, excessive sweating, tiredness and dizziness.
"If you suspect someone may be suffering from a life threatening heat-related illness dial Triple Zero (000) immediately. If it's a non life-threatening situation call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)