26 December 2018

NSW Health has today warned the community high heat and ozone pollution are expected across Sydney and many other parts of NSW over the next few days.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty, NSW Health Executive Director, reminded the community to stay safe and cool, and to look after each other.

“People can be unprepared for the first real heat of summer, so this is a reminder of the safety measures we can all take to limit overheating and sun exposure,” he said.

“It’s important to keep up water intake, stay cool and avoid strenuous physical activity in the heat of the day because heat places a lot of strain on the body and cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Dr McAnulty said it was not just the heat which is of concern, with ozone pollution also on the rise along with temperatures.

“As ozone can irritate the lungs, people with asthma need to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms get worse, they need to seek medical advice.

“Ozone levels are higher outdoors than indoors, so limiting time outside during the heat of the day and in the evening would help people to keep cool and to limit their exposure to ozone pollution.” Dr McAnulty said.

Dr McAnulty said it was also very important to be aware of other vulnerable members of the community like the elderly, infants and children, people with a chronic medical condition and those who live alone

“During hot weather, it’s also important to stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives, because helping them do basic chores to keep them out of the heat could make a life-saving difference,” he said.

Initial signs of heat-related illness may include faintness and dizziness, irritability, thirst, dark urine, headaches and later changes in skin colour, rapid pulse and shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion.

Dr McAnulty said it’s important to drink plenty of water and quickly cool down if symptoms occur. People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention.

More information can be found at Beat the heat.