Heat and health warnings

Heat wave

During extreme heat it is easy to become dehydrated an for your body to overheat. People can develop heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke, which can result in permanent damage to vital organs or even death.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical treatment.

Who is at risk?

Extreme heat can affect anybody, however the people most at risk are

  • people aged over 65 years, especially those living alone
  • people with a medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness
  • people taking medications that may affect the way their body reacts to heat such as: allergy medicines (antihistamines); blood pressure and heart medicines (beta-blockers); seizure medicines (anticonvulsants); water pills (diuretics); antidepressants or antipsychotics
  • pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
  • babies and young children
  • people who are overweight or obese
  • people with problematic alcohol or drug use
  • people with disability
  • people who have trouble moving around such as those who are bed-bound or in a wheelchair
  • people who work or exercise outdoors
  • people who have recently arrived from cooler climates

If you or anyone you know feels unwell on a hot day call NURSE-ON-CALL 1300 60 60 24 or 000 in an emergency.

Tips to survive the heat

There are simple things you can do to stay safe in the heat

  • Drink water - even if you don't feel thirsty, drink water.  Always take a bottle with you.
  • Hot cars kill - never leave children, adults or pets in hot 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, apply sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Help others - look after those most at risk – your neighbour living alone, the elderly, young children and babies, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets.

Plan ahead for extreme heat

Here are some simple ways to prepare for extreme heat

  • Stock up on food, water and medicines so you don’t have to go out in the heat.
  • Store medicines safely at the recommended temperature.
  • Check that your fan or air-conditioner works well. Have your air-conditioner serviced if necessary.
  • Consider ways to make your home cooler such as installing window coverings, shade cloths or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun.

If you or anyone you know feels unwell on a hot day call NURSE ON CALL on 1300 60 60 24, or 000 in an emergency.

See the Victorian Government's Better Health website for information.

Heat alert

See heat health alert information at health.Vic

Further information contact the Emergency Management Unit on 9433 3335