Central Coast Local Health District (the District) is urging locals and holiday visitors to keep cool this weekend with temperatures expected to soar across the Central Coast.
Forecasts of 33 degrees on Saturday and 38 on Sunday have prompted District Director of Public Health Dr Peter Lewis to warn the community about the potential serious health impacts of extreme heat.
“Prolonged periods of very hot weather can be dangerous because hot weather can overheat the human body, leading to a range of serious illnesses,” Dr Lewis said.
“Certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable, including older people, infants and children, people with a chronic medical condition and those who live alone.”
Dr Lewis said it was important to plan ahead and be prepared for extreme heat. The following precautions will help reduce the risk of heat-related illness:
- drink plenty of water, and remember to carry some with you when out and about
- avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks
- plan your day around the heat and minimise physical activity, particularly in the middle of the day
- shade windows with curtains, blinds or closing shutters to keep the sun out
- keep windows closed during the day until it cools down
- if you don’t have an air-conditioner, try to spend time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema
- wear light, loose-fitting clothing
- when outdoors, stay protected from the sun by wearing a hat and sunscreen.
Dr Lewis urged the community to also consider the welfare of those around them, particularly those people at higher risk of heat illness.
“Stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives and to look out for other vulnerable members of their community,” he said.
“It is important to take particular care to keep children cool and get them to drink lots as they can’t always do this by themselves.
“Remember to look after your pets too in the hot weather and never leave babies, children or animals alone in a car, even if the air-conditioner is on.”
For more tips and advice, visit the NSW Health beat the heat website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/default.aspx
Study shows serious risks of heatwaves
A recent long-term study by NSW Health indicated extreme heatwaves lead to more than a 10 per cent increase in both deaths and ambulance callouts.
The study, published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, analysed the health effects of heat events from 2005-2015 and their impact on mortality, hospitalisations and ambulance call-outs.
It showed extreme heatwaves are associated with a 10.8 per cent increase in deaths, a 3.4 per cent increase in hospital presentations and 10.9 per cent hike in ambulance call-outs. The increases in all three measures were seen across metropolitan, regional and rural areas across the state.
NSW Health’s study: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00484-017-1313-5