Dr Mason Stevenson is urging Sunshine Coast residents and particularly the elderly to ensure they take at least some salt this weekend to compensate for loss through sweating in the intense heat.
Dr Mason Stevenson is urging Sunshine Coast residents and particularly the elderly to ensure they take at least some salt this weekend to compensate for loss through sweating in the intense heat. John McCutcheon / SCN220311FLU

Some extra salt may save you as temperatures soar

WARNINGS about the impacts of salt intake on health should be ignored by the elderly this weekend doctors say as the Sunshine Coast heads towards near record February maximum temperatures on Sunday and Monday.

Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association committee member Mason Stevenson said general practitioners and hospital emergency departments were already dealing with people suffering from dehydration, low blood pressure, dizziness and occasionally a collapse as a consequence of the long run of heatwave conditions since the start of 2017.

The Bureau of Meteorology says Maroochydore will hit 37 degrees on Sunday, 8.2 degrees above the February average and just 1.7 degrees below the highest recorded temperature for the month of 38.7 degrees reached on February 23, 2008.

Dr Stevenson said he was encouraging his patients to take more fluids and more critically additional salt during the sustained spell of hot weather.

"The salt story is often forgotten,” he said. "Because of the high humidity in Queensland you sweat more and lose salt.

"You need to replace it. Don't feel guilty about taking a small amount each day particularly through summer.

"That's contrary to advice given in colder climates but I stand firmly behind that statement after 30 years' experience of practice in Queensland.”

Dr Stevenson said the health impacts of sustained hot weather were compounded by frailty, inadequate fluid intake and sometimes the medication required including blood pressure tablets, heart medication and diuretics.

"As GPs we not uncommonly have to assist rehydration,” he said. "Emergency departments commonly have to go the intravenous root to rehydrate their patients.”


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