10 tips for managing the heat
Heatwaves can be dangerous for human health, so it important that you manage your health and your family’s health during hot weather events. The Climate Commission has put together these ten tips to help you keep cool in our current heatwave.
1. Be aware of your actions and keep safe. Think through your journey – is it necessary? Consider any timing implications to avoid the heat of the day and being stuck in traffic.
2. Stay informed – check for the latest news and emergency service updates. Your local doctor, hospital or health professional is a source of advice if in doubt. All life-threatening situations should be reported by calling 000.
3. Care for others – call friends, family and neighbours to determine if they are well and have access to information and support services. People at high risk from the heat are people aged 65 years and older living at home, babies, young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people who are ill or bedridden. .
4. Get cool – put fans on and check air conditioners are operating well to create a cool room at home or seek out a cool room elsewhere. Many public buildings, like a public library, museum or art gallery, are good places to cool down.
Be aware of keeping cool
5. Stick to the shade where possible. Australian Medical Association President Dr Hambleton suggests sitting under a fan and staying out of the direct heat during the day’s high temperatures.
6. Watch out for your health – be aware of impacts such as heat stress and sunburn. Symptoms of heat stress include headaches, dizziness and nausea. More detailed advice on how to stay healthy in the heat is available from health services and local government community outlets including the Victorian Government, the Cancer Council Australia and Red Cross.
7. Drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up. Eat salads and foods high in water content in regular and small servings. Tepid showers will keep your body temperature within the healthy range without temperature shocks caused by very cold water. For more information on the importance of hydration visit Better Health.
8. Watering your garden early in the morning or early evening will help it to survive. Check your local and state government water authority websites to see if restrictions apply.
9. Look after pets – to avoid heatstroke in pets and livestock ensure there is well-ventilated shade and access to clean drinking water. Don’t exercise dogs at the heat of the day and bring small pets into inside areas if the temperature is cooler. Never leave pets in the car. Smaller animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits are susceptible to overheating and may have to be brought into cooler places like the laundry. The RSPCA has some great advice on preventing heatstroke in pets. For livestock heat stress advice please see Meat and Livestock Australia.
10. Have fun – ideas to keep cool could include making your own icy poles by freezing water and cordial and creating your own healthy drinks with fruit juice for ice blocks.
In emergency situations follow the advice given by emergency services for your area.
In preparation for a hot weather event prepare an emergency kit with basic survival gear such as a radio, torch, first aid kit, clothes, water, food, tent, mobile phone. ABC Emergency has some great advice for planning for a heatwave emergency.
Also, stock up on food, water and alternative ways to cool down and keep food cool in case of power outages. The Victorian Government has produced a guide on how to manage power outages.
Photo source: Flickr/Informatique
- 19 June 2013 - Gold Coast Community Forum
- 5 December 2012 - Adelaide community forum