Heat health warning

Public Health has issued an alert for Tasmanians to take precautions against high temperatures forecast for the weekend.

Acting Director of Public Health Dr Scott McKeown said with much of the state expecting hot weather on Friday, Saturday and Sunday it was vital people took steps to avoid heat-related illness.

“Elderly people, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions can be particularly vulnerable to hot weather, but everybody should have a plan to stay cool this weekend.

“There are a large number of outdoor public events being held this long weekend, so it is imperative people planning to attend these events stay hydrated and minimise their time in the sun.”

Dr McKeown said Public Health was also advising aged care facilities to activate their extreme heat policies.

“Anyone planning to undertake physical work outdoors or participate in sport must think about how they are going to avoid heat-related illness.

“During very hot weather, it is easy to become dehydrated or for your body to overheat.

“If this happens, you may develop heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke.”

Dr McKeown said people with minor ailments should consider following up with their GP but for medical emergencies they should always ring triple zero (000).

Dr McKeown said Public Health Services had a range of resources to help people get ready for and cope with hot days.

He said people should keep the following points in mind during hot weather:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Check on others: Check on relatives and friends at risk, such as the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions. Check they are managing and not affected by the heat.
  • Minimise sun: Keep out of the sun as much as possible and avoid outdoor activities in the heat of the day. If you must go outside, wear light protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and use plenty of sunscreen.
  • Children can die in hot cars: Never leave children in cars in the sun.
  • Prepare your house: If you have a fan or air-conditioner, make sure it is working and set to cool. If you do not have a fan or air-conditioner, shut curtains and blinds to keep out the heat during the day and open doors and windows in the cool of the evening.
  • Pets: Keep your pets out of the sun with plenty of cool water to drink. Exercise your dog in the cooler early morning or evening.
  • Seek medical advice: Heat illness can be serious. In a life threatening emergency don’t wait, call triple zero (000) for help.

Visit www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts/standing_health_alerts/extreme_heat for more information, including a Guide to Coping in Extreme Heat.