NSW Health is again reminding people to
take necessary precautions in periods of hot weather and poor air quality to reduce
their risk of illness, with heatwave conditions forecast for parts of the state
The forecast heat will potentially break
November records, while health risks will be compounded by smoke from bushfires
which continue to affect large parts of NSW.
NSW Health Director of Environmental
Health, Dr Richard Broome, urged people to avoid being outside during the
hottest part of the day, to minimise physical activity and to keep well hydrated.
“We’re expecting temperatures over 40 for
some rural areas of NSW and the high 30s for western Sydney. This is the first
really hot period of summer and I’d encourage everyone to take the risk of heat
related illness seriously,” Dr Broome said.
“We know that heatwaves cause severe illness,
hospital admission and even deaths, and that people are more sensitive to
heatwaves early in the season. The combination of heat and poor air quality
adds to the risk.”
“Hot weather puts a lot of strain on
the body, causes dehydration and can make underlying health conditions worse.
It also causes heat stress and heat stroke. People over 75, people with chronic
medical conditions and people who live alone are particularly vulnerable.”
“Simple precautions can reduce the risk
of heat-related illness,” said Dr Broome.
“It’s best to stay indoors during the
hottest part of the day, which is generally from about 11am to 4pm. Staying
indoors also protects you from bushfire smoke. If you don’t have air
conditioning, using a fan can cool you down and keeping curtains shut helps to
keep the heat out of your home. It’s also important to minimise physical
activity and to drink plenty of water.
“It’s also really important to stay in
regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives because they may
be more vulnerable to the heat.
“Signs of heat-related illness include
dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps,
headache, changes in skin colour, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and
confusion,” he said.
Dr Broome said it’s important to get to
a cool place quickly if symptoms occur. People showing severe signs of
heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention, in an emergency situation
call Triple Zero (000).
More information can be found at the NSW Health website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat