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Red Cross alerts people to take action during heatwave

22 January 2021

Australian Red Cross is alerting people of the need to prepare for, and to take action during, this week’s heatwave.  

The heatwave is forecast to move from southern Western Australia across much of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, over the coming days.  

“Heatwaves are extremely dangerous. They result in more deaths in Australia than floods, bushfires or cyclones,” said Red Cross Head of Emergency Services, Andrew Coghlan. 

“You need to be prepared – stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay alert for the signs of heatstroke,” he said.  

Symptoms of heatstroke can include a change in consciousness, or being confused, appearing hot, red and flustered and in extreme cases, vomiting. 

Australian Red Cross’ free First Aid App can be used to guide people through the signs, symptoms and responses for heat-stroke and many other first aid emergencies. 

Australian Red Cross’ tips for coping with the heat: 

  • Drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water is the best option. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary or fizzy drinks as they make dehydration worse. 
  • Eat little and often, rather than large meals. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water. 
  • Stay indoors in the coolest rooms of your house or in the shade during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Take cool showers and splash yourself with cold water several times a day, particularly your face and the back of your neck. A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can help you stay cool. 
  • Air flow: Make sure there is sufficient air circulation, either from an air conditioner or by leaving a secured window or door open. 
  • Find 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. 
  • 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. 

Red Cross’ first aid training courses are open for bookings.

Book online at redcross.org.au/firstaid or call 1300 367 428.

For more information on how to get prepared for emergencies large and small visit redcross.org.au/heatwave.  

For media queries or interview requests, contact media@redcross.org.au or phone 1800 733 443