Keep your cool as Queensland swelters
Queenslanders are urged to be on alert for heat-related illness with the current heatwave expected to last till the end of the week.
Dr Peter Aitken, head of Queensland Health’s Disaster Management Branch, encouraged people to be prepared, pay attention to their health, and look out for their loved ones and neighbours.
“Anybody can be at risk of heat-related illness but infants, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people suffering from pre-existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable,” Dr Aitken said.
“People who take certain medications, have alcohol or other drug problems, are disabled or have mobility problems, or people who are physically active can also be at risk.
“If you have friends, family or neighbours that are at particular risk check in on them.
“It is important to take precautions against dehydration and other heat-related conditions.
“Drink plenty of fluids, preferably cool water, regularly throughout the day – don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
“Find a cool spot, preferably in a building with air-conditioning or good air flow, and limit strenuous outdoor activity.
“Wear light, loose cotton clothes, soak your feet in cool water or wear a wet bandana or washer around your neck.
“Try to avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day, usually between 10am and 3pm.”
Dr Aitken also urged people to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses as they can be serious, or even fatal.
“Signs of heat stress can include rising body temperature, dry mouth and eyes, headache, shortness of breath or vomiting,” Dr Aitken said.
“Signs of heat stroke, which is a more dangerous condition, can include heat rash, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and seizures.
“Urine colour is a good guide to hydration – it should be clear to light straw-colour, not dark or gold.
“If you suspect someone may be suffering from heat-related illness, call Triple Zero (000) immediately, lay the person down in a cool spot, remove as much clothing as possible and give them water to drink if they are able to swallow.
“If possible, get them into a cold shower or bath, or cover them with a wet sheet to help cool them down.”
Dr Aitken also advised that the sustained heatwave may lead to people suffering fatigue, given the high overnight temperatures can prevent people from getting a good night’s sleep.
“If you have been awake throughout the night be conscious of the fact that fatigue could have an impact on your daily activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery and plan accordingly,” he said.
“And remember, never, ever, leave children, or animals, or anyone, unattended in cars in the heat. Temperatures can rise very rapidly and can be fatal in a surprisingly short period of time.”
To stay informed and monitor the heatwave situation in Queensland, please visit: www.bom.gov.au/qld/warnings/heatwave.shtml
Media contact: Queensland Health - 3708 5376