Health experts are warning people with cardiovascular, respiratory and other chronic conditions or who are pregnant to take extra special care in the sweltering temperatures sweeping much of Australia.
Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of pre-term or stillborn births as the temperature rise, says Associate Professor Adrian Barnett, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).
"Heatwaves together with power cuts are very serious, not just for sick people.
"We had better get used to days like this, because climate change is predicted to increase the intensity and frequency of heat waves in Australia."
QUT emergency medicine expert Professor Gerard Fitzgerald was Queensland's Chief Health Officer in 2004 when a Brisbane heatwave claimed more than 80 lives.
"The best advice is to keep drinking fluids," he said.
"Drink lots of water and monitor your urine - if it's dark, drink more because it should be clear.
"It's also important to keep your electrolytes up. Drink energy drinks or water mixed with electrolyte powder or tablets. This is especially important for the elderly and other people in high-risk health groups."
The professors’ tips for coping with heatwaves:
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid alcohol
- Dress lightly
- Be active in the early morning and late evening, and stay inside during the middle of the day
- Take cold showers
- Use wet washers to cool your body
- Check on the elderly that they are keeping hydrated and cool also.
See our article on Managing the Heat with advice from emergency service experts also.