Get prepared to beat the heat

With warm weather forecast across the state this week, and the Midlands particularly affected on Thursday, Director of Public Health Dr Roscoe Taylor has encouraged people to get prepared for summer heat.

"It's really important to make plans for how to deal with those extremely hot days we can expect over the summer," Dr Taylor said.

"For example, having a plan to keep in touch with elderly or sick relatives, friends and neighbours on a hot day could save their life. Know the signs of heat-related illness, and know what to do if someone is suffering from this.

"It's a good time to get fans out of storage and check that air-conditioners are working and set to cool. It's also worth thinking about what to do with your pets on very hot days."

Dr Taylor said hot weather affected some people more than others, particularly the elderly and it was important to understand these effects, who was at risk and what to do if someone was not coping with the heat.

"Population Health Services and Ambulance Tasmania have recently prepared a range of resources and advice aimed to help people get ready for and cope with extremely hot days."

Dr Taylor said people should keep the following points in mind to beat the heat:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water or in accordance with your doctor's instructions.
  • Check on others: Check regularly on relatives and friends at risk, such as the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • Minimise sun: Keep out of the sun as much as possible. If you must go outside, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, use plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen (minimum SPF30+) and reapply as directed.
  • 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, open doors and windows where safe to do so. Draw blinds and curtains to keep out the heat during the day.
  • Pets: Make sure your pets are kept out of the sun and have plenty of cool water to drink. Avoid exercising your dog in the heat of the day.
  • Seek medical advice: Heat-related illness can be serious and advice should be sought from a health professional.  In a life threatening emergency call 000 for help.

For more information, including a guide on how to cope in the heat, visit http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/features/summer_is_here and www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/emergency_info/extreme_heat