Extreme heat

During the height of summer many members of the community, especially the young, elderly and those with a chronic illness, become more vulnerable to HEAT STRESS as a result of hot weather.

The ACT Ambulance Service encourages all Canberrans and visitors to the national capital to take note of the following tips to avoid HEAT STRESS:

  • Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of cool fluids, preferably water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink;
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, tea and coffee because this will cause dehydration;
  • Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing where possible. Don’t overdress;
  • NEVER leave children alone in a car even for a very short time. The inside temperature can become life-threatening within MINUTES;
  • Avoid any strenuous outdoor activities, especially when the sun is strongest between the hours of 11.00am and 3.00pm;
  • If outside make sure you always wear a shirt and hat – even if you are swimming; and
  • Use plenty of sun screen when outside and reapply regularly.

Symptoms of HEAT STRESS to watch out for include:

  • Nausea;
  • Feeling faint;
  • Dizziness;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Headache; and
  • Vomiting.

If you come across someone with the above symptoms of HEAT STRESS during hot weather 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; and
  • If conscious, give cool fluids (preferably water) to drink.

CRITICAL – DROWSINESS / UNCONSCIOUSNESS AND HOT DRY SKIN ARE DEFINITE INDICATORS OF HEAT STROKE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. YOU SHOULD RING EMERGENCY 000 IMMEDIATELY AND ASK FOR AN AMBULANCE.

Extreme heat fact sheet [PDF 1.1 MB]

This page was last modified on August 28th, 2015