Heatwave: Stay alert to prevent heat stress

7 December 2018

With widespread severe to extreme heatwave conditions expected across parts of the Pilbara and Kimberley in the coming days, take precautions to avoid heat stress.

Woman drinking a bottle of water outside in the hot sun

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 take these precautions:

  • Check on older, sick and frail people who may need help coping
  • Never leave anyone in a closed car, including pets, even briefly. The temperature 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.