Nov 27
Western Nsw Local Health District Urges Caution During Impending Heat Wave

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting that there will be very high temperatures across central and western NSW over the coming days and is urging people to take the risk of heat-related illness seriously.

Temperatures are predicted to be extreme in many places. Bourke will experience temperatures above 40C all week, with a predicted high of 44C on Friday. Walgett will also experience temperatures from high 30'sC and into the 40'sC at the end of the week. Mudgee will reach 39C and Dubbo 41C by end of the week.

Dr Therese Jones, Director Population Healthsaid that, while heat-related illness may affect anyone, certain groups are particularly vulnerable. These include the over 75s, infants and children, people with a chronic medical condition and people who live alone.

”Australians are accustomed to hot weather and generally consider themselves resilient to such conditions. However, the January 2009 heat wave, which caused many deaths in Victoria and South Australia, is a stark reminder that extreme heat presents a real and potentially life-threatening risk” said Dr Jones.

“During a heat wave, it is very important to stay in regular contact with your elderly friends, neighbours and relatives, and to look out for other vulnerable members of your community.”

Some simple precautions will help people minimise their risk of heat-related illness: 

  • Drink plenty of water, and remember to carry some with you when you’re out and about
  • Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks.
  • Plan your day around the heat. Stay indoors between 11am and 3pm and minimise physical activity.
  • Keep the sun out of your house by shading windows with an awning, shade-cloth or plants.  Shutting curtains will also help.
  • Keep windows closed during the day. Open them when it cools down at night or the early morning.
  • If you have an air-conditioner, make sure it’s working.
  • If you don’t have an air-conditioner, try to spend some time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema.
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton.

“Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating,” Dr Jones. “People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.”

More information about heat-health, including downloadable advice in several languages, can be found on the NSW Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/beat_the_heat/Pages/default.aspx