South East Queenslanders are urged to be on high alert for heat-related illness as a severe heatwave grips the region for the next few days.
Starting today, and continuing over the weekend, maximum temperatures are forecast to range from the mid to high thirties across the greater Brisbane region, as well as areas around Beaudesert, Boonah, Caboolture, Caloundra, Ipswich and Redcliffe.
Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the coming heatwave was not just a matter of discomfort, but a serious health risk for affected communities.
“While Queenslanders are accustomed to warm weather, we often underestimate the potential dangers of prolonged high temperatures with minimal night-time relief, which can harm both our physical and mental wellbeing,” Dr Gerrard said.
“Everybody can be at risk of heat-related illness, but infants, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
“Additional risk factors include working outdoors, taking certain medications, having alcohol or other drug problems, having disabilities or mobility limitations, and being physically active.
“I would urge everyone to prepare, be mindful of their health, and check on loved ones and neighbours during this period.”
Dr Gerrard urged everyone to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially cool water.
“It’s a good idea to avoid hot or sugary drinks, and alcohol, as they can worsen dehydration,” Dr Gerrard said.
“If you don’t have air-conditioning, seek out cool spaces like shopping centres, libraries or swimming pools, especially during peak heat hours.
“Other ways to cool down include soaking your feet in cool water and wearing a wet bandana or washer around your neck.
“If you are outdoors, make sure you carry a bottle of water with you and wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.”
Dr Gerrard also advised people to try and avoid strenuous activity during the heatwave.
“If it’s unavoidable, do it early mornings before 7am when temperatures are cooler, and avoid activity between the hottest hours of the day, which are typically 10am and 3pm.
Queenslanders are also reminded to never leave children or animals unattended in cars, as temperatures rise rapidly and can be fatal in a short time.
Dr Gerrard urged people to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses as they can be serious.
“Signs of heat stress can include rising body temperature, dry mouth and eyes, headache, shortness of breath or vomiting,” Dr Gerrard said.
“Signs of heat stroke, which is a more dangerous condition, can cause heat rash, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and seizures.
“Urine colour is a key indicator: clear to light straw is good, dark or gold indicates dehydration.”
If you suspect heat-related illness:
- Call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
- Lay the person down in a cool spot.
- Remove as much clothing as possible.
- Give water to drink if they can swallow.
- If possible, get them into a cold shower or bath, or cover them with a wet sheet to cool them down.”
Visit the Bureau of Meteorology website to stay informed and monitor the heatwave situation in Queensland.
Visit the Queensland Health website for advice on how to prepare for a heatwave and signs of heat-related illness.