News

Heatwave warning: Stay alert to prevent heat stress

11 December 2019

With extreme hot weather conditions expected across Western Australia in the coming days, take precautions to avoid heat stress.

Girl drinking water from a bottle in hot weather

This is particularly important for the elderly, young children and babies, whose bodies cannot always regulate temperature changes efficiently leading to heat stress.

If you work outside or are not used to the heat, you may also be at a higher risk.

Heat-related illnesses range from mild symptoms such as a rash or cramps, to very serious conditions such as heat stroke. Effects can also build up over several days and can worsen heart disease and other chronic problems. If you experience severe symptoms - such as dry red hot skin, high body temperature, nausea, and rapid heart rate - seek urgent medical advice.

To help prevent heat-related illness:

  • Check on older, sick and frail people who may need help dealing with heat.
  • Never leave anyone – even briefly – in a closed car, including pets. Temperatures inside a car can rise to more than 60 °C in just a few minutes.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids (If your doctor normally limits your fluids or you are on fluid tablets, check how much to drink while the weather is hot).
  • Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • Stay indoors, if possible in air-conditioning.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Apply sunscreen at regular intervals while outdoors.
  • Reduce physical activity.
  • Avoid outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day.
  • If possible, stay in shaded areas when outdoors.
  • Don't rely on fans unless there is adequate ventilation.