Severe hot weather is a serious event. Even in the shade, you can still be affected by heat-related illness. In general, heat stress can be prevented. Failing to take precautions can be a deadly decision, particularly for babies, children and the elderly.
Here are some simple steps you can take to look after yourself, your family and your pets if a heat wave is predicted or happening:
- Dress appropriately - wear light, loose clothing.
- Ensure pets have adequate water and shade.
- Never leave children or pets alone in parked cars. Temperatures inside your vehicle can rise to dangerous levels in minutes, even hotter than outside.
- Purchase or locate a fan or air conditioner.
- Take bottles of water when you’re on the move or outside.
- Take note of weather reports from the Bureau of Meteorology.
- Plan your day to avoid direct heat and sunlight where possible - stay inside or at least in the shade during the hottest part of the day (10am to 3pm).
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine-based drinks and excessive amounts of coffee. All these will dehydrate you.
- Take extra care with children and the elderly - they can really suffer in the heat.
- Check on elderly relatives and neighbours a couple of times a day to see how they are coping.
- Look out for symptoms of heat stress, including flushed or pale skin, cramps, nausea, headache, dizziness, disorientation, drowsiness, fainting or collapsing. Seek medical attention if any of these occur.
- Keep drinking water throughout the day, especially if you are working outdoors or exercising.
- Stay in the shade if outdoors and wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm.
- Make use of fans and air conditioners.
- Keep infants cool and offer fluids regularly.
For more information, find links to useful fact sheets on the Queensland and Australian government websites below.
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