Remember the 4 key messages to keep you and others healthy in the heat

1. Drink plenty of water. 2. Keep cool. 3. Take care of others. 4. Have a plan! 

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 cool

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).
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Page Updated: Friday 2 December 2016