10 January 2020

NSW Health is again reminding people to take action to prevent heat-related illnesses as another burst of hot weather is forecast for much of the state. Poor air quality is forecast as ozone levels are expected to rise in the western suburbs of Sydney this afternoon.

NSW Health Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome, said people should take extra precautions as temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s, with ozone levels also contributing to the risk. Ozone forms on hot sunny days from a reaction between gases emitted by traffic and natural sources, and it can worsen existing heart and lung conditions.

“Staying indoors during the heat of the day to keep cool, minimising physical activity and staying well hydrated are important ways to reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Staying indoors will also minimise exposure to ozone,” Dr Broome said.

“If you have a lung and heart condition, you may be more sensitive to the effects of ozone, so it’s a good idea to avoid vigorous outdoor activity this afternoon. If you have asthma, keep your reliever puffer close at hand.

“Heat puts a lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke. It can also make underlying conditions worse. People over the age of 75, people with chronic conditions and those who live alone are most vulnerable.

“Signs of heat related illness include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains or cramps, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion.”

Simple precautions can reduce the risk of heat-related illness:

  • plan your day and prepare your house by drawing blinds and curtains closed
  • avoid the heat of the day by staying indoors and keeping cool by using air-conditioning, fans
  • keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • check on the welfare of vulnerable neighbours, friends and family.

“It’s important to get to a cool place quickly if symptoms occur. People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention, in an emergency situation call Triple Zero (000),” Dr Broome said.

More information can be found at Beat the heat.