Tasmanians can take a few simple precautions to stay healthy in hot weather.
Drink plenty of water
- Drink cool water regularly, even if you do not feel particularly thirsty.
- Staying hydrated is especially important for young children and the elderly.
- If your doctor has limited your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather.
- Avoid alcohol, and hot or sugary drinks including tea and coffee - these can increase urine and make dehydration worse.
- Carry a bottle of drinking water with you if you must be outside in the heat.
- Make ice in your freezer.
Keep Yourself Cool
- Drink cool drinks.
- Eat smaller cold meals such as salads and fruit.
- Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes.
- Stay out of the sun and heat.
- If you are outside, get into the shade and wear 30+ sunscreen, a hat, and clothing to prevent sunburn.
- Plan your day – try to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Wet towels or cool packs on your arms and neck can cool you down.
- Try putting your feet in cool water.
- Have a cool shower or a cool bath.
- Put off hard physical activity and household chores for a cooler day.
Keep your house or workplace cool
- During the day, close windows and shut curtains and blinds.
- At night, open windows to let cooler air in.
- Use air-conditioning if you have it.
- Identify your coolest room and spend time in it.
- Try not to use your stove or oven.
- Consider spending time in a cool place like a library, shopping centre or cinema.
Look out for others
- Check on elderly friends, neighbours and relatives.
- People with medical conditions are also at risk from hot weather, as are pregnant and breastfeeding women, obese people and disabled people.
- Ask if they have cool water, and remind them to have plenty to drink.
- Help them to find the coolest room in their house.
- Consider offering to take them to a cooler place, such as a shopping centre or cinema.
- If a person affected by heat appears or sounds ill, or seems confused, seek urgent medical attention if they do not recover very quickly with cooling and some extra fluids.
- Offer cool drinks to children, particularly infants, who may not think or be able to do this themselves.
- Never leave babies or children alone in a vehicle in warm or hot weather, even if the air-conditioner is on and the windows are open.
- Always watch children when they are playing in or near water.
- Think about how heat could affect you and your family, and plan for it.
- Know who to call if you need help.
- If you have any medical conditions, follow your doctor’s advice.
- If you feel unwell, seek medical advice from your doctor or nearest hospital.
- If you have a medical emergency, call an ambulance on Triple Zero.
- Prepare an emergency kit in case there is a power failure. Make sure it has a battery-operated radio in it, and that you have spare batteries.
- Listen to the radio for emergency information and the weather forecast.
- Know what to do in a bushfire. Information on bushfire preparedness is available from the Tasmanian Fire Service at www.fire.tas.gov.au
- Keep your food safe – food that needs refrigeration should be stored between 0°C and 5°C.
Out and About
- Drinking alcohol increases your risk of drowning. Avoid drinking alcohol if you plan to get into the pool or the sea, or if you are supervising children.
- Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.
- If you can’t swim, stay in the shallows.
- Never leave children unattended by the pool or at the beach – a drowning can happen in minutes in hardly any water.
- Rivers, creeks and dams may be shallow or have logs or rocks just under the surface. Always check the depth and for submerged objects before carefully entering the water.
- Check your BBQ gas bottle is turned off, and check for any leaks or unusual smells.
Getting Back in Balance
- Resume a normal, adequate fluid intake after the heat has passed.
- Resume your normal activities, taking account of the weather. Rest if you need to.
- Go to your doctor if you feel unwell.
- Open windows and doors to let your house cool down.
- Contact family and friends to see if they need help, and to let them know you are OK.
- Check on elderly relatives and neighbours.
- Plan for the next hot spell. What helped you cope? What could you do differently next time?
- The Department of Health and Human Services maintains a smoke alert monitoring system at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/alerts/air
- If an air quality notification is active, some people should take precautions to protect their health from smoke inhalation.
- Those most at risk from smoke are infants, people over 65 years, and those with lung or heart conditions.
Such people should:
- avoid physical activity outdoors,
- stay indoors and close windows and doors,
- switch air conditioners to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’, if possible,
- take their regular medication, including asthma “preventers”
- consider visiting a friend’s place, the local library, shopping centre or sports centre.