As the summer months continue, many people will notice the temperature in their homes rising.
But did you know that having an overheated house can seriously affect your health?
High temperatures can increase your risk of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so it’s important to maintain a safe indoor temperature, especially for the most vulnerable.
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For those with young children, it is advisable to use a room thermometer to check that the room your baby is sleeping in is between 16°C and 20°C.
Your baby should not sleep in direct sunlight.
Heat waves are known to lead to increased death or serious illness, and no segment of the population can be considered protected from the risks associated with heat waves.
However, those most at risk are the elderly, the sick, infants and young children. Thus, a safe and air-conditioned environment must be ensured.
The ambient temperature should be around 20 degrees centigrade.
The HSE Sustainability Office says 18-23 degrees is the comfortable range.
In the heatwave plan for England, 26 degrees is used as the upper limit for cold areas.
- Continue full temperature assessment
- Make sure cold areas are kept below 26 degrees
- Make sure you have enough cold water and ice
Access to cool rooms and close monitoring of vulnerable people are also recommended during periods of high heat.
If there is a high risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in hot weather, you should:
- drink plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising
- take cool baths or showers
- wear loose, light-colored clothing
- sprinkle water on skin or clothing
- avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- avoid excess alcohol
- avoid extreme exercise
It will also prevent dehydration and help your body stay cool.
Keep an eye out for children, the elderly, and people with long-term health conditions (like diabetes or heart problems) as they are at higher risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is usually not serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. However, if it develops into heat stroke, it should be treated as an emergency.
Check for signs of heat exhaustion
Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- a headache
- dizziness and confusion
- loss of appetite and feeling sick
- excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
- cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
- rapid breathing or pulse
- a high temperature of 38C or more
- be very thirsty
Symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become flaccid and sleepy.
If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled.
Things you can do to calm someone down
If someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, follow these four steps:
- Move them to a cool place.
- Have them lie down and raise their feet slightly.
- Make them drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are acceptable.
- Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cold water and fan them. Cold compresses around the armpits or neck are also good.
Stay with them until they are better.
They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.
You should see a doctor if they don’t recover within 30 minutes.