With parts of New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory set to be hit by extremely hot temperatures this week we've pulled together 10 tips to help you stay cool.
Tuesday February 23, 2016
Heatwaves can be killers, and are one of the most underrated of natural disasters - extreme heat events have killed more people in Australia than bushfires, cyclones or any other natural disaster. Of the top 10 Australian disasters of the past century, by number of people killed, six of them were heatwaves.
They can be dangerous for anyone, but especially older people, young children and people with a medical condition. Here's some tips to help you look after yourself and the ones you love in hot weather:
1. Look out for your neighbours. If you know someone who might be susceptible to heat stress, stop by and make sure they know what to do to stay cool. You might also be able to help with drawing blinds or awnings, or doing some shopping.
2. Stay inside. Stay indoors in the coolest rooms of your house or in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
3. Stay in the shade. If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes, preferably made of natural fibres. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 to exposed skin. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.
4. Block the sunlight. Reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows by using external shades or light-coloured curtains.
5. Get the air flowing. Ensure there is sufficient air circulation, either from an air conditioner, fan or by leaving a secured window or door open.
6. Take a shower. Take cool showers and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck. A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can also help you stay cool.
7. Air-con relief. Go to an air-conditioned building in your local area to cool off - a shopping mall, community centre, library or swimming pool.
8. Drink water. Drink regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty. Water is the best option. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary or fizzy drinks. They make dehydration worse.
9. Eat little and often. Eat little and often rather than large meals. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
10. Ditch sports and gardening. If you cannot avoid strenuous activity like sport, home improvements or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning.
If you or someone you know shows signs of heat stroke (fits, confusion, staggering), call 000 immediately. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and can cause a person to collapse or fall unconscious.
This summer we've seen the mercury soaring all over the country, and according to the Bureau of Meteorology the last three years have been some of the hottest on record in Australia. Globally, heatwaves were one of the top five most common disasters between 2005 and 2014.
Make sure you know how to keep cool and look after yourself this summer. We have lots more info on how to be prepared for any emergency or disaster.