A heat wave occurs when there are more than a few days in a row above 34 degrees, often combined with high humidity.
Stay healthy in the heat. Find out how you can prepare for and cope during a heat event with these simple tips:
- drink two to three litres of water per day, even if not thirsty
- wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, porous natural fibre clothes
- avoid strenuous activities
- don't drink alcohol, soft drinks, tea or coffee - they worsen dehydration
- don't take salt tablets unless prescribed by a doctor
- avoid heavy protein foods (e.g. meat, dairy products) which increase body heat and fluid loss
- keep your home cool with curtains, shutters or awnings on the sunny sides and open windows at night
- if you don't have air conditioning, use fans, damp clothing and have frequent cool showers
- spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned buildings (e.g. shopping centres, galleries, museums)
- avoid direct sunlight - wear a hat and sunscreen as sunburn limits your ability to cope with the heat
- if you work outside, keep hat and clothing damp
- don't leave children or pets in parked vehicles
- if you suffer chronic illness or feel ill, see a doctor
- keep animals in the shade with plenty of water.
Although everyone is vulnerable to the effects of a heatwave, those most at risk are:
- children under four years of age
- older people
- people with a chronic condition or illness
- overweight people
- people who undertake vigorous exercise.
Look after yourself, but also check on sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives.
Never leave a child or a pet alone in a hot car. On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 30 to 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. That means on a 30-degree day, the temperature inside the car can be as high as 70 degrees.
For more information about heat waves, visit the Queensland Government website.