IT’S hard to picture Australia Day without thinking of sunshine, the great outdoors, and the water nearby – even if you live inland.
So no doubt Aussies all over will be making the most of their Australia Day long weekend, heading to either the beach, the lake or the bush with their mates to take advantage of all our great country has to offer.
But while spending the day swimming in the beach or a river and the night sleeping under the stars sounds perfect, the image becomes hazy when you factor in temperatures of up to or over 40 degrees.
If you’re set to go camping and are suddenly balking at the forecast, don’t panic.
Instead, follow the steps below to keep cool and comfortable while you’re out and about.
You might consider yourself the next Russell Coight, but you’ll need more than just survival skills to survive a weekend in our sunburnt country. Pack the essentials before you leave. Make sure you’ve got enough water to last you your entire time away – and then some; sunscreen; food; and something to deal with those pesky mozzies. Having a radio or mobile phone with reception to keep updated on any fire warnings is also essential – just make sure you have a way to charge them!
Pro tip: Leave the jeans at home. You’ll want loose, light-coloured, breatheable clothing on board.
Check the forecast
⚠SEVERE WEATHER UPDATE: Second update on hot weather and potential fire danger across southeast Australia. Video current at 2.00pm AEDT Thurs 25 Jan 2018. Forecasts at: https://t.co/1LXLitPmM5@SAHealth@CFSAlerts@CFA_Updates@VicEmergency@TasAlert@TasFireService#heatwavepic.twitter.com/ArdtbPsPXo— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) January 25, 2018
Will your plans to eat burnt sausages cooked on a campfire be foiled by a day of total fire ban? And what’s the fire danger rating looking like? Be smart – know if there is a risk of fires in your area, and have a plan in place.
Get there early
When the sun is blazing down at you, you want to do everything you can to stay cool. Getting to your camping location early and selecting a shady spot seems like the easiest way to do it.
Slip, slop, slap
You already know this, but it’s worth mentioning again. That Aussie sun can be bloody hot! Reapply your sunscreen as appropriate. Add more if you’re going swimming. Need motivation? Just think about how bad sunburn feels when you’re out in the sun. Stop that pain from happening.
If you DO get burnt, stay out of the sun, run some cold water over the burns for 20 minutes, and apply cool guaze padding if necessary. If the burns blister, or if it is a baby, seek medical assistance.
Drink lots… of water
Another no-brainer. Beer might “taste” hydrating, but nothing is going to do the job like good old water will.
Luckily, you’re prepared and have a ton of water with you, so get drinking! Take an Esky full of ice, and freeze some bottles of water before you. You’ll be cool for days.
Bonus tip: Eat some fruit. A delicious, watery treat.
Know the signs
Can you recognise dehydration? What about heat stroke?
According to St John Ambulance Victoria:
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, eyes and lips as well as headaches, light headedness, small amounts of dark urine and muscle cramps. To treat dehydration, get the patient to sit down and ensure they drink plenty of water. If needed, give them an oral rehydration solution, available in pharmacies and supermarkets.
Heatstroke can affect people of all ages – and you don’t need to be doing lots to bring it on.
Watch out for flushed, dry skin and a body temperature over 40 degrees.
Other symptoms can include: a pounding rapid pulse, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and visual disturbances, irritability and mental confusion, which could progress to seizures and unconsciousness.
Be sensible. Watch out for your mates, follow any signed information, and make sure you’re ready to return to the “real world” come Monday.