How to stay safe as the temperatures soar

(Australian Associated Press)

 

WHAT IS A HEATWAVE?

The Bureau of Meteorology defines a heatwave as a period of at least three days when the combined effect of excess heat and heat stress are unusual for a local climate.

ARE THEY DANGEROUS?

Heatwaves are the most deadly of all of Australia’s natural hazards.

Between 1900 and 2011, 4555 people died from extreme heat in Australia – 55.2 per cent of all deaths caused by natural hazards.

That’s more than 1000 deaths higher than the tolls for the next five most dangerous natural hazards combined – cyclone (1285), flood (1221), bush/grassfire (866), landslide (88) and lightning (85).

WHO IS AT RISK?

Heat can exacerbate existing medical conditions and can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke.

WHAT CAN I DO?

– drink plenty of water even if you aren’t thirsty

– cool off with wet towels and cool foot baths or showers

– stay in cool or air-conditioned buildings if you can

– stay out of the sun in the heat of the day

– avoid strenuous activity and

– check on sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives

– don’t leave people or animals in hot cars

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