Severe hot weather is a serious event. Even in the shade, you can still be affected by heat-related illness. In general, heat stress can be prevented. Failing to take precautions can be a deadly decision, particularly for babies, children and the elderly.

Here are some simple steps you can take to look after yourself, your family and your pets if a heat wave is predicted or happening:

Be prepared

  • Dress appropriately – wear light, loose clothing.
  • Ensure pets have adequate water and shade.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in parked cars. Temperatures inside your vehicle can rise to dangerous levels in minutes, even hotter than outside.
  • Purchase or locate a fan or air conditioner.
  • Take bottles of water when you're on the move or outside.
  • Take note of weather reports from the Bureau of Meteorology.
  • Plan your day to avoid direct heat and sunlight where possible – stay inside or at least in the shade during the hottest part of the day (10am to 3pm).

Be alert

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine-based drinks and excessive amounts of coffee. All these will dehydrate you.
  • Take extra care with children and the elderly – they can really suffer in the heat.
  • Check on elderly relatives and neighbours a couple of times a day to see how they are coping.
  • Look out for symptoms of heat stress, including flushed or pale skin, cramps, nausea, headache, dizziness, disorientation, drowsiness, fainting or collapsing. Seek medical attention if any of these occur.

Be safe

  • Keep drinking water throughout the day, especially if you are working outdoors or exercising.
  • Stay in the shade if outdoors and wear sunscreen and a hat.
  • Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm.
  • Make use of fans and air conditioners.
  • Keep infants cool and offer fluids regularly.