Flying Doctor tells Dubbo residents how to manage heat emergencies

AT WORK: Senior flight nurse Karen Barlow treats a patient. Photo: Contributed
AT WORK: Senior flight nurse Karen Barlow treats a patient. Photo: Contributed

The Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section is offering advice on heat stress as Dubbo residents battle a January heatwave.

Dubbo-based senior flight nurse Karen Barlow is telling residents how to manage heat cramps and fatigue, heat faint, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

The average top temperature in Dubbo in the month of January is 33.2 degrees Celsius.

In the first nine days of this month the maximum temperature has ranged from 33.3 degrees to 42.6 degrees. 

On Wednesday the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting 38 degrees on Thursday, 41 degrees on Friday and 39 degrees on Saturday.

The daytime temperature is expected to drop to 29 degrees on Sunday before rising to 35 degrees on Tuesday.

Ms Barlow reports that cramps and fatigue are the first signs of a heat emergency. “Get the person to a cool place and give them water,” she said. 

Heat faint is caused by a drop in blood pressure when body fluids shift to the skin in an effort to cool the body. 

“Getting the victim into shade, giving them water and elevating their legs will help recovery,” she said.

Ms Barlow said rapid heart rate, difficulty in breathing, dizziness and impaired mental function were common signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke that required  “immediate medical treatment”.

She said it was vital to reduce the core body temperature of a victim by removing outer clothing and applying cool water or ice under the arms, on the neck or groin, and offering drinking water. 

“Be careful not to cool them down too quickly as that can also have an adverse effect,” she said.

This story Heat stress tips precede days of extreme temperatures in Dubbo first appeared on Daily Liberal.