Preparing for heatwaves

Heatwaves are one of the most significant natural hazards facing the Australian community. Each year, extreme heat exacerbates pre-existing medical conditions and causes heat-related illness. Children, people aged over 65, those taking some medications that affect the body’s ability to cope with heat, people living alone and people who are socially isolated are among those most affected.

Heatwave forecasts can be used to better prepare for heatwave conditions and reduce the impact of heat stress on you, your family and your business.

If a heatwave is headed your way, consider the level of severity, and follow these simple steps to stay healthy:

  • Drink plenty of water—even if you don't feel thirsty, drink water. Take a bottle with you always.
  • Never leave children, older people or pets in cars—the temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes.
  • Stay somewhere 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 and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Check in on others—look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, older people, the young, people with a medical condition and don't forget your pets.

Your doctor and local health authorities understand extreme heat and can provide more detailed advice or refer to the public health website in your State/Territory for further information.

State and Territory Health Departments