Healthy living

Heat health advice

Translated information is available and can be downloaded as fact sheets. Visit stay healthy when it's hot.

In the hot weather, you need to take care of your health. WA can experience long periods of extreme heat, where the maximum and minimum temperatures are much hotter than usual.

How can you plan ahead for the heat?

  • Check fans and air conditioners are working and that filters and air vents are clean.
  • If you need to service or replace your fan or air-conditioner, try to do it before the summer rush.
  • If you have reverse cycle air-conditioning, check that it is set to ‘cool’ before summer begins.
  • If you are worried about the cost of using your air-conditioner, investigate whether concessions are available on your energy bills.
  • Make a plan for keeping in regular contact with friends and neighbours when it is very hot.
  • Make sure you have food and other groceries at home so you are less likely to have to go out when it is really hot.
  • Take care when you buy, store and handle food in hot weather to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
  • Listen to radio and television weather reports and try to plan ahead for the hot days.

How can you keep cool in the heat?

  • Drink plenty of fluids: water, diluted juice (mixed with water), low sugar sports drinks.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks (including tea, coffee and energy drinks) as these can increase dehydration.
  • Make ice cubes from water or cordial and suck them.
  • Wear light-coloured, loose clothing.
  • Stay indoors with a fan or air-conditioner on (ensure adequate ventilation if using a fan)
  • Take a cool shower or bath, or put your feet in a bowl of cool water.
  • Use a spray bottle filled with water, or a wet cloth, to cool your face and body.
  • Keep curtains, blinds and windows closed during the day to keep your home cool.
  • Sleep with just a sheet over you, in the coolest part of the house.
  • Limit time spent outdoors: go early morning or late evening, stay in the shade, put on a hat and sunglasses, and apply sunscreen.
  • Always carry a water bottle when out.

How can you keep your home cool in the heat?

  • Create shade where it’s needed. Reduce the heat coming in through windows facing north, east and west by creating shade with awnings, trees, pergolas or shade cloth.
  • Let the heat in and out: On hot days, close doors, windows and curtains during the day, and open them in the evening, to let the cool air in.
  • Make your window coverings do the work: Curtains with block-out backing, or solid blinds, will help to keep the heat out.
  • Use a fan first: Stagger your use of cooling appliances to save energy by using just a fan first then fan and air conditioner together as it warms up.
  • Cool not freeze: Don’t over-cool the house; set the thermostat so it is comfortable, not freezing.
  • Contain the cool: Shut off rooms you don’t need and save the fan and/or air-conditioner for where you need them most.
  • Install insulation and roof cavity cooling: Insulation keeps your house cool in summer and warm in winter; install whirlybirds in the roof cavity.
  • Cook outdoors: If you can use the BBQ when it gets cooler, instead of your oven or stove, you can avoid making your house hotter by cooking.
  • ‘Investigate’ then ‘renovate’: If you are building or renovating, consider how you can make your house more heat-tolerant.

For more information, visit Your Home (external site) and Environment Victoria (external site).

Heat information for people who are homeless

  • Community based agencies across the inner Perth city CBD are able to assist.
  • Day centres across Perth offer bottled water and basic amenities
  • Most agencies can also provide sunscreen and hats as required
Other important factors to consider:
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Stay in the shade or indoors as much as possible
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Use sunscreen and a hat during the day
  • Seek medical assistance if required.

Where to get help

  • Speak to your local chemist/pharmacist
  • See your doctor
  • Visit a GP after hours
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

If you are very sick go to your nearest hospital or call 000 for an ambulance.


Content thanks to SA Health, Government of South Australia.


Acknowledgements

Disaster Preparedness Management Unit


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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