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Top doctors change heatwave advice amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging Aussies not to flock to airconditioned shopping centres this summer as coronavirus remains an ongoing threat.

RACGP Victoria chair Dr Anita Munoz said the advice for patients had to change this year due to the COVID-19 virus.

“We used to advise people to go to a public place with airconditioning on very hot days, such as a shopping centre, as we know many people don’t have access to a cool home,” she said.

“This year is different because we are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic – COVID-19 is highly contagious, and the last thing we want is people, particularly vulnerable people, gathering in public places during heatwaves.

“Instead, we want to get the message out to people to prepare for the heat in other ways.”

Munoz advised patients vulnerable from the heat to consult with their general practitioners.

“Your GP can give you advice to suit your circumstances and concerns, including managing medicines during heatwaves and how to stay hydrated and cool if you don’t have airconditioning,” she said.

“I also urge everyone to look out for those who are more vulnerable in times of extreme heat.

“If you know someone who is more vulnerable, be they a neighbour, relative or friend, check in on them. A simple phone call can make a big difference.”

Munoz said Australia had done a “great job” in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and did not want that progress to fall away during the warmer months.

“We don’t want to go backwards and see another spike in cases,” she said.

“This is why the RACGP is changing its advice for patients in times of extreme heat, particularly those who are more vulnerable, such as older people.”

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