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Canberra
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Top tips for keeping cool in a heatwave

Canberra, the mercury is rising, and ACT Health has recommended a couple of simple things you can do to ensure you’re keeping cool in a heatwave.

ACT Health has warned Territory residents to prepare for hot conditions this weekend, with the forecast for the next four days looking something like this: 37°C on Saturday, 39°C on Sunday, 39°C on Monday and 35°C on Tuesday (the Australia Day public holiday).

No matter what you’re up to for the long weekend (only if you were lucky enough to take Monday off), it’s important to keep health and safety top of mind and take precautions to keep cool during the hot weather.

  • Keep hydrated: drink plenty of water.
  • Plan your day around the heat: avoid being outdoors between 11am and 3pm.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: they can make dehydration worse.
  • Soak: take a cool shower or bath to help you cool down.
  • Be cool: stay indoors and make use of fans or air-conditioners.
  • Rest: make sure you get enough sleep, and rest if you feel tired.
  • Eat fresh: try eating cold foods such as salads or fruit.
  • Check on others including children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with medical conditions – and don’t forget your pets.
  • Seek shade when outside.
  • Be SunSmart: wear lightweight clothing, a hat and sunglasses and apply SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum sunscreen if you’re heading outside.

It’s also important to be on the lookout for symptoms of heat-related illness, such as nausea, fainting, dizziness, headaches and vomiting.

In babies, signs of heat stress include irritability, restlessness and a reduced number of wet nappies.

See your GP or head to one of Canberra’s walk-in centres if you feel unwell, and in a medical emergency call 000.

The Government has also warned about the dangers of hot cars: never leave children or pets alone in a car, as even short periods of time can cause heat stress.

Other tips for keeping cool in a heatwave from the CW team include:

  • Open up the house in the coolest part of the day (if secure and safe to do so) and close it up before temperatures start rising.
  • Draw curtains and close blinds and windows before temperatures rise.
  • Stop heat and direct sunlight entering the house by shielding windows on the outside; temporary measures include propping cardboard against the glass on the outside or draping an old sheet or tablecloth over windows.
  • Even popping your feet in a tub or bucket of cool water can help you feel cooler.

CW invites you to share your suggestions for keeping cool in the comments section.

Ian Cubitt's
Ian Cubitt's