A heatwave is a period of unusual hot weather that can cause serious health effects. Heatwaves can make existing medical conditions worse and cause heat-related illness, which may be fatal.
It can also affect community infrastructure such as the power supply, public transport and other services.
- For 24-hour health advice call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.
- For life-threatening emergencies call 000.
Who is most at risk?
Those most at risk during a heatwave are:
- people aged over 65 years, especially those living alone,
- people with medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness,
- people taking certain medications,
- people with problematic alcohol or drug use,
- people with a disability who may not be able to communicate their discomfort or thirst,
- people who have trouble moving around,
- people who are overweight or obese,
- pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children,
- people who work or are physically active outdoors, and
- people who live in the upper levels of buildings constructed before 1975.
Coping with the heat
- Look after yourself and keep in touch with sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives,
- Drink plenty of water,
- Keep yourself cool using wet towels, putting your feet in cool water and taking cool showers,
- Spend as much time as possible in cool or air-conditioned buildings,
- Close blinds during the day and open windows when there is a cool breeze,
- Don’t leave children, adults or animals in parked cars,
- Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, if you must go out, stay in the shade and take water with you,
- Wear loose fitting, light-coloured clothing,
- Eat smaller meals more often and cold meals such as salads,
- Make sure food that needs refrigeration is stored properly,
- Avoid strenuous activity, and
- Watch or listen to news reports that provide more information during a heatwave.
Preparing for hot weather
- Service your air conditioner before summer,
- Stock up on food, water and medicines so you don’t need to go out in the heat,
- Store medicines at the recommended temperature,
- Install awnings, shade cloth or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun, and
- Know where your closest ‘cool places’ are.
Preparing for power failure
- The risk of power outage is greater in extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have a plan in case of a blackout,
- Plan what you would do if a heatwave caused a blackout or disrupted public transport,
- Ensure you have a torch, fully charged mobile phone and battery-operated radio,
- Consider your need for back-up power and don’t rely on power as part of your bushfire preparedness plan, and
- Remember power outages can affect phones, radios and water pumps.
Staying cool in Stonnington
Take refuge from the heat in one of Stonnington's many cool places.