It is expected that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves. Heatwaves can affect anybody including young and healthy people, however there are certain people that are at more risk than others. Those people at greatest risk are people 65 years and over, people with a chronic medical condition or disability and people living alone.
Heat-related illness occurs when the body is unable to adequately cool itself and ranges from mild conditions such as rash or cramps to life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke.
During a heatwave:
- Keep hydrated by drinking extra water, even if not thirsty. (Please note: if your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather.)
- Look after yourself and check up on older, sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives.
- Spend as much time as possible in cool or airconditioned buildings (for example, shopping centres, libraries, cinemas and community centres).
- Keep yourself cool by using damp towels and taking cool showers in the day and night.
- If you must go out, stay in the shade and take plenty of water with you. Wear a hat and light-coloured, loose fitting clothing.
- Block out the sun during the day by closing curtains and blinds and open up windows and doors where there is a cool breeze.
- Do not leave children, adults or animals in parked vehicles.
- Avoid strenuous activity like sport, home improvements and gardening.
For further information on heatwaves, visit the Department of Health website or download our heatwave fact sheets below:
How to stay cool during a heatwave(PDF, 402KB)
Advice for older persons(PDF, 4MB)
Advice for parents with young children(PDF, 2MB)
Advice for pet owners(PDF, 138KB)
Preventing heat-related illness(PDF, 94KB)