News Articles and analysis

Surviving the heat

Extreme heat can present a serious health risk, especially to elderly people and those with medical conditions. With temperatures climbing in early January, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the dangers and to plan for when the heat hits.

Staying safe during extreme heat:

  • Drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Take a bottle with you always.
  • Hot cars kill. Never leave kids, older people or pets in cars. The temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes.
  • Keep cool. Seek out air-conditioned buildings, draw your blinds, use a fan, take cool showers and dress in light and loose clothing made from natural fabrics.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule activities in the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising in the heat. If you must go out, wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Check in on others. Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young and people with a medical condition, and don’t forget your pets.

Resources:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ revised Heat health plan for Victoria provides recommended actions for health and community service providers to take before, during and after extreme heat.
  • A suite of Survive the Heat resources has been developed to educate the community and raise awareness of the impact of extreme heat on human health. The information is available in a range of formats with a number of resources translated into community languages.
  • How to cope and stay safe in extreme heat  – Better Health Channel website.

Where to get help:

  • In an emergency, call triple zero (000)
  • VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226
  • Your doctor – if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a heat-related illness
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, seven days)
  • Maternal and Child Health Line, Victoria Tel. 13 22 29 (24 hours)