Remember the 4 key messages to keep you and others healthy in the heat
Drink plenty of water
- Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty – check the colour of your wee – if it’s pale you’re drinking enough (check out theurine colour chart).
- If your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather.
- Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks including tea and coffee (they can make dehydration worse).
- If you go outside, carry a bottle of water with you.
- Stock your fridge with cold water and freezer with ice.
Keep your body cool
- Drink cold drinks and eat smaller cold meals such as salads and fruit.
- Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes made from natural fibres like cotton.
- Stay out of the sun.
- If you must go outside, apply sunscreen, wear a hat.
- Plan your day around the heat – avoid being outdoors between 11am and 5pm.
- Put wet towels or cool packs on your arms or neck or put your feet in cool water.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- Minimise physical activity, do all household chores early in the morning when it is coolest.
Keep your house cool
- Cool your house by closing windows, shutting curtains and blinds, opening windows at night if you can to let in cool air.
- Use air-conditioning if you have it (make sure it’s set to cool).
- If you don’t have air-conditioning, spend time in a cool place like a library, shopping centre or cinema.
- Know which room in your house is the coolest (this will often be on the ground floor on the south side).
- If there is no power or you can’t get to an air-conditioned space, spend time in the coolest part of your house.
- Use your stove and oven as little as possible.
Take care of others
- Visit or telephone elderly friends, neighbours and relatives, at least once a day.
- Check that they have water in the fridge.
- Encourage them to drink.
- Help them to find the coolest room in the house.
- Consider taking them to a cool place (e.g. shopping centre, library or cinema).
- Take particular care to keep children cool and get them to drink lots as they won’t often do this by themselves.
- Never leave babies, children or animals alone in a car even if the air-conditioner is on.
Have a plan
- Know who to call if you need help.
- Follow your doctor’s advice if you have any medical conditions.
- If you feel unwell, seek medical advice from your doctor or nearest hospital.
- Know where to find your emergency kit in case of a power failure.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
- Know what to do in case of a bushfire. Information on bushfire preparedness is available from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Keep your food safe
- Make sure food that needs refrigeration is properly stored (the temperature in the fridge should be between 0°C and 5°C). Defrost foods in the fridge, not on the kitchen bench. For more information about keeping food safe please refer to the NSW Food Authority.
- If your fridge and freezer is affected by a power failure, please refer to the NSW Food Authority.
After the heat has passed
- Continue to drink plenty of fluids so your body can get back in balance.
- Take time to rest and recover as coping with extremely hot weather can be very tiring.
- Go to your doctor if you feel unwell after the heat has passed.
- Open windows and doors to let your house cool down but make sure you don’t compromise the security of your home.
- Contact family and friends to see if they have coped during the heat and if they now need help with anything.
- Think about how well you coped during this time of extreme heat and what, if anything, you would do differently next time.
- Make any changes in your home so it will be more comfortable for you during another time of extreme heat (see How to prepare for a heat wave).
Source: NSW Health