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South east Queensland enjoys a long, hot summer, but with our fine weather comes the danger of heatwaves.

Heatwaves are perhaps our most under-rated natural hazard. In Australia during the 20th century, they caused more deaths than any other natural hazard.

Every summer people suffer from heat stress when the body absorbs more heat than it can dispel. Prompt action will avoid the potentially fatal effects of fully developed heat stroke. Most at risk are young children, the elderly, people with alcohol, weight or health problems, and people on medication/drugs with a dehydrating effect.

Avoiding heat stress

  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose porous and natural fibre clothes
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Drink two to three litres of water per day, even if not thirsty
  • Avoid alcoholic, caffeinated or soft drinks
  • Don't take salt tablets unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Keep your home cool with curtains, shutters or awnings
  • Use fans, damp clothing and have frequent cool showers if you don't have air-conditioning
  • Spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned buildings
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen in the sun
  • Don't leave children or pets in parked vehicles.

If you feel ill, see a doctor.