ACT Health Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, has been working overtime during this Christmas period.  After her advice on food (see previous post), she has now reminded us of the dangers of sun and heat.

“There’s a high probability that the 2009-10 summer season will include extended periods of above-average temperatures, so people should take precautions,” she said. 

“Many of us take beach breaks at this time of year and make the most of the outdoors, but it’s important to follow the five sun-protection measures:  slip on some sun-protective clothing; slop on SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sun-sceen;  slap on a hat;  slide on some sunnies;  and seek shade whenever possible.

“This is important, not only for sun-protection, but also to minimise heat-related stress, which is serious and, if not addressed quickly and appropriately, can lead to death.

“Every year, many Australians suffer from heat-related stress and illness.  Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, faintness, nausea and vomitting.

“The risk of heat-related stress increases dramatically when temperatures rise above 35 degrees Centigrade.  This is especially so for the very young and the elderly, whose bodies do not adapt as well to temperature changes and extremes.”

The Minister recommends some simple precautions for avoiding heat-related stress, which include:  drinking plenty of water;  avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol – these can have a de-hydrating effect;  staying out of direct sun;  keeping an eye on vulnerable members of the community, including the very young and the elderly, and making sure that they get enough water.

With all this worrying about our holiday health, will the Minister find time to relax?  After all, we can’t have her becoming ill, can we?