NSW urged to prepare for heatwave

global warming high temperature city heat wave in summer season concept.

With much of NSW forecast to experience severe to extreme heatwave conditions over the coming days, NSW Health is urging residents to take steps to beat the heat.

Acting Director of Environmental Health, Dr Adi Vyas said people should take extra care to prevent heat-related illness.

“Hot weather puts a lot of strain on the body, including dehydration, and can make underlying health conditions worse,” Dr Vyas said.

“It also causes heat stress and heat stroke. People over 75 years, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live alone are particularly vulnerable.

“Plan for the upcoming heatwave by checking your fridges, freezers, fans and air-conditioners work properly. Set your air conditioning to cool; a setting of 24 degrees can keep you cool while helping to reduce electricity demand. Put jugs of water in the fridge and cool packs in the freezer. Also ensure your blinds are closed before the sun hits your windows. Plan your activities safely on hot days.

“Protect yourself during the heatwave by postponing or rescheduling your outdoor activities. Reduce the impact of heat by avoiding being outside during the hottest part of the day; keeping well hydrated with water; and looking after vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

“Signs of heat related illness include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion.”

People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention and, in an emergency situation, call Triple Zero (000).

While everyone needs to take necessary precautions to avoid heat-related illness, NSW Health is also urging people to continue to practise COVID-19 safe behaviour during the heatwave.

“If you’re able to keep cool at home using fans, air-conditioning and closed blinds, please do so and stay at home. That way, we won’t compromise physical distancing in public indoor venues, such as shopping centres, libraries and other public buildings where people may seek respite from the heat,” Dr Vyas said.

“If you do leave your home to attend other indoor spaces, please physically distance and wear a mask in places where you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from others.

“It is essential to keep in touch with relatives, neighbours and friends; especially those living alone or who are isolated. Be COVID safe; check in with them through a phone call or video call.”

More information can be found at the NSW Health website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat