Get in the know about the risk of heatwave and extreme hot weather
Heatwaves can kill. Extreme heat can be dangerous for anyone, but the risk of heat-related illness increase for:
- people aged over 65
- pregnant women
- babies and young children
- anyone experiencing anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress, or anyone with a medical condition that makes it hard to regulate their body temperature
- people new to an area or who are isolated
- for people with lingering COVID-19 related health issues.
When temperatures climb, there are things you can do to stay safe and healthy, and help others.
- Learn the signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. And make sure you can differentiate between this and COVID-19 symptoms. Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
- Be aware that heatwave risk is increased for people with COVID-19, or people who have lingering COVID-19 related health issues.
- Download the Red Cross First Aid App or print out this guide and put it on your fridge.
- Check the forecast and plan ahead for shopping and appointments.
- Get to know the Bureau of Meteorology’s categories of heatwaves.
- If you have a medical condition – particularly, cardiovascular disease or mental health illness – talk to your doctor about how heat may affect you.
- Get plenty of sleep and connect with LifeLine if you are experiencing a personal crisis.
- Know the facts about heat and COVID-19. The virus spreads just as quickly in warm weather as colder conditions. Continue to act COVID-safely.
Get connected and learn how to prepare for heatwaves before the mercury rises
Prepare your mind by thinking about how hot weather affects your mood and ability to think clearly. Get connected with these simple steps:
- identify three key support people. Include people who can help you with practical assistance, as well as emotional support and reassurance. Make sure you can connect with them virtually if you need to physically distance
- download our Get Prepared App to help you prepare for any emergency
- write down important phone numbers
- keep in touch with friends, neighbours and relatives, particularly if they're unwell or isolated. Ensure you can connect with them online or over the phone
Get organised with these straightforward ideas and tips
Before it heats up, get prepared:
- look at the things you can do to make your home cooler, like installing awnings or shade cloths
- check fans and air-conditioners are clean and working well. A clean fan helps keep ventilation fresh
- stock up on food, water and medicines, and put ice blocks and packs in the freezer
- store medicines safely at the recommended temperature
There are ways to keep cool when the temperature rises:
- stay inside and keep out of the heat as much as possible
- if you go outside, wear light clothes, a hat and sunscreen, and take water. If you are wearing a mask take extra precautions to stay cool
- plan shopping, appointments, exercise and gardening for early in the day, or ask someone to help
- keep your home cool by drawing the blinds, turning on fans or air-conditioners and opening doors and windows at night
- take cool showers, splash yourself with cold water, or use a cool damp cloth to cool off
- keep an eye on your mood and ability to think and plan. Seek support if you’re worried
- cool off at an air-conditioned shopping mall, community centre, library or your local swimming pool, but stay COVID-safe
- avoid crowded indoor public spaces, but if you must cool off at an air-conditioned public venue, like a shopping mall or library, wear a mask, maintain physical distancin, and wash and sanitise hands regularly
- try cooling off in the shade at public outdoor spaces such as parks and outdoor pools. But maintain a safe social distance from others
- drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary drinks. If you are in a public space take a water bottle and avoid high touch bubblers or water fountains
- eat small meals and cold foods like salads and fruit.