Australia Is In A Heat Wave So Here’s How To Stay Safe And Cool, According To An Expert

This summer could be the hottest on record and staying cool is not just a want, it’s absolutely essential for our health.

As if things weren’t hot enough already, Australia is currently in the midst of a heatwave that could see temperatures pass 40 degrees in Sydney over the weekend.

Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV, physician and heat expert Dr Arnagretta Hunter said simply staying cool, however you manage it, is critical.

“Heat can really affect our health and it’s very important to stay cool,” she said.

“It can be a really serious problem.”

Humidity has a huge impact on how we respond to heat, she said, with heat stress hitting at lower temperatures than people might expect. In humid environments, for example, we can start experiencing heat stress at just 30 degrees.

“Stay cool, avoid strenuous activity outside, don’t work outside and especially not in direct sun in the middle of the day,” she said.

“Staying hydrated is also very important, so making sure you’ve always got access to water and being aware you might be getting more dehydrated.”

In hotter temperatures people could be sweating a lot more than usual without actually realising it, Hunter said.

“Heat is particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations including children, older people and those with pre-existing conditions,” she said.

“Part of how we think about heat needs to be thinking about those around us, those in our neighbourhoods, who’s going to be checking in on them.

“It’s going to be a major challenge this summer as I think we’re going to be dealing with temperatures we haven’t seen before.”

Heat stress can be a life threatening condition and warning signs include people being confused and starting to make less sense, getting very thirsty, and feeling generally unwell and nauseous.

Stay indoors and keep out of the heat if you can. It may seems obvious but it bears repeating — especially if your first instinct is to plan a beach day.

7 Tips For Staying Cool During A Heatwave

  • Stay indoors and keep out of the heat if you can.
  • If you need to go outside, wear light clothing and a hat, put on sunscreen and take water with you.
  • Do daily activities early in the day.
  • Draw blinds or curtains early in the day.
  • Cool down rooms with fans or air conditioning before they heat up.
  • Take cool showers or splash yourself with cold water several times a day. A damp cloth can also be used.
  • Go to an air-conditioned building in your local area to cool off.