Heat wave

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.

Hot cars

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.

More information

For more information about heat waves, visit the Queensland Government website.

Last updated:9 May 2019