​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hot weather can cause serious health problems, especially for older people, people with existing medical conditions, babies and young children, outdoor workers, socially isolated people, people who are homeless and pregnant women.

Before, during and after a period of hot weather it’s important that you keep cool and stay hydrated by drinking water.

Keep cool

During hot weather it’s extremely important to keep cool to prevent yourself from becoming unwell.

Tips for keeping cool

  • Use air-conditioning if available to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Use electric fans if air-conditioning is not available. At extremely high temperatures (around 39 degrees and above), fans can be less effective at keeping someone cool.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid being outdoors in the hottest part of the day as much as possible. If you have to go outside, seek shade or shelter.
  • Close curtains and blinds to block out the sun.
  • Spend time in the coolest area of your home.
  • Limit physical activity, for example household chores or exercise, to early in the morning when it is coolest.
  • Use stoves and ovens as little as possible as these can heat up the home.
  • Wet your skin with cool water using a spray bottle or a damp sponge or cloth.
  • Place cool packs or crushed ice in a damp towel loosely over your neck and shoulders.
  • Take cool showers or baths, or sit for a while with your feet in cool water.
  • Seek out cool places or air conditioned public facilities in your local area, if you can safely travel without getting too hot.
  • When it becomes cooler outside, open your windows and doors to allow warm air out and let the cool air in.

When outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen and wearing sun-protective clothing, sunglasses and a wide brim hat.

Stay hydrated

During hot weather it’s important to stay hydrated.

  • Drink plenty of water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty: If your doctor has asked that you limit your fluid intake, ask how much water you should drink during hot weather.
  • Do not replace your water intake with alcoholic or sugary drinks.
  • Carry water with you if you will spend time outdoors.

Did you know... If your urine is pale you are probably drinking enough water. You can test your urine using our colour chart.

Learn the signs of heat-related illness

It is important to learn the signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash, how to treat the symptoms, and when to seek medical help.

Learn the signs, symptoms and first-aid for heat-related illnesses

Stay cool during power outages

Extreme heat and heatwaves can cause power outages which affect your air-conditioning or electric fan. Find out how to prepare for a power outage during extreme heat: Plan ahead to beat the heat.

Visit the Aus​Grid website for information about current power outages in NSW.

After the heat has passed

The strain of heat exposure, including disrupted sleep, can be felt after the hot weather has passed.

  • Stay aware of your health in the days following hot weather and seek medical advice if you feel unwell.
  • Continue to drink plenty of water.
  • Take time to rest and recover.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbours who may be more at risk of the health effects of heat.

For more information​​

​Visit the healthdirect website for more information about hot weather risks and staying cool.

For health information a​nd advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week phone healthdirect​ on 1800 022 222, or speak to your doctor. ​​​​​

Current as at: Monday 18 December 2023
Contact page owner: Environmental Health