Kiwis are being urged to look out for excessive heat exposure and dehydration as temperatures soar across the country.

Most of the country has baked this week, with some regions likely to reach over 35C, according to NIWA Weather.

Now, multiple health organisations are asking people to keep an eye on their health while in the hot sun.

Te Whatu Ora medical officer of health, Dr Matt Reid, urges people to watch out for signs of excessive heat exposure.

The symptoms include heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke/sunstroke.

“If you feel dizzy, weak, or have an intense thirst or headache, you may be dehydrated. Drink some water and rest in a cool place,” he said.

“If your symptoms persist or you’re concerned about your health or someone else’s, seek medical advice.

Kiwis can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free advice if needed.

Dr Luke Bradford, medical director of the Royal College of General Practitioners, recommended Kiwis in hotspots stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm “if possible”. He also recommended applying sunscreen regularly.

“Dehydration for sports players and trampers is common, so ensure you have adequate hydration before setting out,” he said

“Wear wide-brimmed hats and seek shade. Avoid consuming alcohol while in the sun.”

He said that if you are older and/or on prescribed medications, ensure you are in well-ventilated rooms with a fan or a breeze, as well as be aware of dehydration.

Starship Children’s Health paediatrician Dr Jin Russell is asking parents to keep an eye on their babies, saying: “If you are feeling uncomfortable in the heat, your baby will be too.”

“Babies are less capable of regulating their temperature. Hot weather can quickly overcome your baby, resulting in overheating and possible dehydration.”

She recommended parents and caregivers take several steps to help their babies through the heat.

These include giving babies extra fluid (in the form of water or breastfeeds), dressing your baby lightly and covering them with a sheet when sleeping.

She recommended covering babies’ arms and legs when going outside and avoiding driving in the car during the heat of the day.

Make sure any fans are out of children’s reach and that they aren’t pointing directly at your baby.

“If your home has air-conditioning, ensure that your baby does not become too cold – the room temperature should be comfortable at around 24 degrees.

“If your baby is very hot, they may enjoy a lukewarm bath – don’t use cold water though, as this can be too shocking for their system.”

Russell said the most important thing to do is “never leave your baby or toddler alone in the car – a car’s interior can heat up very quickly when the windows are wound up, and your child will overheat very quickly, which can be potentially fatal”.

For toddlers, she recommended ensuring they get plenty to drink, wear a hat, and play in the shade.

“Playing with water in a shady spot outside is a great way to cool down.

Always supervise toddlers in or near water. Home-made ice blocks made with fruit juice are an excellent and healthy way to help your child cool down.”

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