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Public urged to take precautions as hot weather predicted

16 December 2021

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is reminding people to be cautious during extreme heat forecast across the region for the rest of the week, and into the weekend.

Priscilla Stanley, WNSWLHD Public Health Director, urged people to stay indoors during the heat of the day, minimise physical activity and keep hydrated during the heatwave.

Ms Stanley said temperatures are expected to reach upward of, and in some areas over, 40 degrees Celsius throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend.

“For a lot of the District, this appears to be our first real taste of summer and I encourage everyone to take the risk of heat-related illness very seriously,” Ms Stanley said.

“Heat puts a lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke. It can also make underlying health conditions worse. People over 75, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live alone are particularly vulnerable.

“Conditions like these can cause serious illness, hospital admissions and even death. There is always potential that people with COVID-19 will need hospital care and we need our hospitals at full capacity so please, be careful in the heat.”

Ms Stanley encouraged communities across the District to take simple precautions that can reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

“It’s best to try and avoid the heat of the day by staying indoors. If you don’t have air conditioning, using a fan and keeping curtains shut can help to keep you cool. It’s also important to minimise physical activity and to drink plenty of water,” Ms Stanley said.

“It’s also really important to stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives because they may be more vulnerable to the heat.

“Signs of heat-related illness include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps, headache, changes in skin colour, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion. If symptoms occur, get to a cool place quickly.”

People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention, in an emergency situation call Triple Zero (000). For more information visit: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat​