In Tasmania we are used to coping with cool weather, but are less experienced coping with extreme heat. Some people may experience the effects of hot weather more than others, so it’s important to know what these effects are, who is at risk and what you can do.
Who is at risk during extreme heat?
Everyone is potentially at risk during extremely hot weather, but some people have a higher risk of becoming ill than others, including:
- Older people, particularly the frail or over 65
- Pregnant women, babies and young children
- People who live on their own or who don’t live close to other people
- People who work outdoors, or who are physically active
- People with a physical disability
- People with a serious chronic condition (heart problems, breathing problems, diabetes, mental illness, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or those who are very overweight)
- People taking certain types of medications, including those affecting sweating and body temperature
- People with a high temperature from an existing infection
It is very important that those at higher risk take extra care of themselves during hot weather. It is also important that family, friends and neighbours of those at higher risk keep in contact with these people regularly to make sure they are coping with the extreme heat.
Older people may experience the effects of hot weather more than others, and be at greater risk of heat-related illness. Read more extreme heat advice for older people and learn how you can prepare for extreme heat.
Most women experience an increase in body temperature during pregnancy and this makes them more sensitive to high temperatures. Keep in mind that if you are getting overheated so is your baby, and this can be dangerous for the baby.
Healthy In The Heat resources
The South Australian Department for Health and Ageing has developed a range of resources on extreme heat, including:
- Babies, children and teenagers during heatwaves
- Exercise, sleeping, drinking water and food safety during heatwaves
- Heat-related illness signs, symptoms and treatment
- Heatwaves during pregnancy
- Looking after pets during heatwaves
- Older people and heatwaves
- People with chronic or mental health conditions during heatwaves
Heatstroke is a medical emergency which can result in permanent damage to vital organs, or even death, if not treated immediately. If experiencing symptoms of heatstroke call 000 immediately for an ambulance.
How to be prepared for extreme heat
Being prepared for extreme heat is important. There are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of being affected by the heat.
Drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
Check on others
Check regularly on relatives and friends at risk, such as the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.
Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, especially light colours that reflect the heat.
Keep out of the sun as much as possible. If you must go outside, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and use plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen (minimum SPF30+).
Prepare your house
If you have a fan or air-conditioner, make sure it is working (and set to cool). If you do not have a fan or air-conditioner, open doors and windows where safe to do so. Draw blinds and curtains to keep out the heat during the day.
Make sure your pets are kept out of the sun and have plenty of cool water to drink. Avoid exercising your dog in the heat of the day.
Seek medical advice
Heat-related illness can be life threatening. In an emergency, call 000 for help.
Bushfire and air quality information
Find out what is happening with fires and air quality:
- Visit Tasmania Fire Service for fire alerts
- Visit Department of Health for bushfire smoke health advice.
- Visit Department of Health for air quality information
- Visit Environment Protection Authority for more real-time air quality data.
Climate and weather outlook
Find out what is happening with the weather: