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Heatwave

 

HEATWAVE

 

 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEATWAVES

A heatwave is a prolonged period of excessive heat (usually over 36°C), often combined with high humidity.  This unusual and uncomfortable hot weather can impact on human and animal health and cause disruption to community infrastructure such as power supply.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR EXTREME HEAT?

• Identify any particularly at risk members of your family such as babies, young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people on certain medications or with medical conditions
• Consider installing alternatives such as awnings, shade cloth, internal blinds or curtains to help cool your home
• Ensure any air conditioners are serviced regularly
• Listen to weather forecasts for potential heatwaves
• Prepare for a power failure:

  • Plan for what you would do if a heatwave caused failure of electricity
  • If a power failure does occur, ensure you have a torch, fully-charged telephone or mobile phone, battery operated radio and spare batteries

WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN THE WEATHER IS EXTREMELY HOT?

Drink water regularly and eat sensibly

• Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water a day at regular intervals (even if you do not feel thirsty)
Sports drinks do not replace water. If your fluid intake is limited on medical advice then check with your doctor on how much you should drink during hot weather
• Avoid alcoholic drinks, carbonated soft drinks, tea and coffee as they worsen dehydration
• Eat as you normally would but try to eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit which contain water
• Avoid heavy protein foods (eg. meat, dairy products) which raise body heat and increase fluid loss

Keep out of the heat

• Plan your day to keep activity to a minimum during the hottest part of the day (11am - 3pm)
• If you must go out then wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, porous clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen and regularly rest in the shade and drink fluids
• Avoid strenuous activities and gardening
• Do not leave children, adults or animals in parked cars

Stay cool

• Wear appropriate clothing to suit the hot weather
• Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible
• Block out the sun during the day by closing curtains and blinds and keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside
• Open up windows and doors when there is a cool breeze, when the temperature inside rises and at night for ventilation
• Use fans and air-conditioners at home to keep cool; or spend time in an air-conditioned library and community centres
• Take frequent cool showers or baths and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck

Monitor animals and pets for heat stress

Pets and livestock can be affected by heat related illness and anyone in charge of an animal, livestock or a pet has a duty of care to provide food, water and appropriate shelter for the animal.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK SOMEONE IS SUFFERING FROM A HEAT RELATED ILLNESS?

• Call Triple Zero '000' for life threatening emergencies
• Seek medical advice from your usual doctor, hospital or health clinic
• Sit or lay the person in a cool spot in the shade or under cover
• Remove as much of the patient's clothing as possible or loosen tight clothing
• Cover the person with a sheet which has been wet with tap water (NOT iced water)
• Use fans or air conditioning to aid the cooling down process
• Give the patient water to drink, if they can swallow

If the patient becomes unconscious then position them on their side and dial Triple Zero '000'