10.5 C
Friday, May 14, 2021

Public health alert: heatwave conditions in Canberra

Canberrans and visitors to the national capital are being warned to prepare for heatwave conditions forecast for the ACT this weekend and the increased risk of heat-related stress and illness.

Heatwave conditions are forecast for Saturday (37oC), Sunday (39oC), Monday (39oC) and Tuesday (35oC) with both high maximum daytime and minimum overnight temperatures expected. Today is expected to reach a maximum of 34oC.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman and ACT Ambulance Service Chief Officer Howard Wren have encouraged Canberrans to stay safe by knowing how to avoid heat-related stress.

“It’s important for the community to be aware of the risks associated with prolonged periods of hot weather, in particular those in our community that are more vulnerable,” Dr Coleman said.

“Everyone can be susceptible to heat-related stress and illness in the heat, that’s why people need to stay hydrated and stay cool. This is particularly for older people, pregnant women, young children and babies, who are most at risk.

“Look out for the early symptoms of heat related stress including headaches, dizziness, faintness, nausea and vomiting. In babies, signs of heat stress include irritability, restlessness and a reduced number of wet nappies.

“Summer safety tips to beat the heat are on the ACT Health website, and we encourage people to get online and check them out.”

ACT Ambulance Service Chief Officer Howard Wren said people will need to take extra precautions when enjoying the outdoors.

“It is particularly important people seek shade during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and limit their alcohol consumption,” Mr Wren said.

If you come across someone with symptoms of heat stress you during a heatwave or hot weather, you can take the following actions:

  • try to get the person to a cooler environment
  • lay the person down
  • cool them by applying cool, wet towels around the neck and underarms
  • if conscious, give cool fluids (preferably water) to drink
  • assist them to seek medical attention through their GP or in an emergency by calling triple zero (000) for an ambulance

Dr Coleman said with many people out and about this weekend at barbecues and other celebrations, ACT Health also reminds Canberrans to stay COVID safe. It is everyone’s responsibility to follow the health advice and do what they can to ensure they keep themselves and the community safe. Canberrans are asked to:

  • Physically distance from other groups whenever possible
  • Continue good hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Use the Check In CBR app to check in when out and about
  • Stay home if you are unwell
  • Get tested if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms

For more information on summer safety and preventing heat-related illness, visit ACT Health’s Summer Safety page.

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