(Australian Associated Press)
WHAT IS A HEATWAVE?
The Bureau of Meteorology defines a heatwave as a period of at least three days when the combined effect of excess heat and heat stress are unusual for a local climate.
ARE THEY DANGEROUS?
Heatwaves are the most deadly of all of Australia’s natural hazards.
Between 1900 and 2011, 4555 people died from extreme heat in Australia – 55.2 per cent of all deaths caused by natural hazards.
That’s more than 1000 deaths higher than the tolls for the next five most dangerous natural hazards combined – cyclone (1285), flood (1221), bush/grassfire (866), landslide (88) and lightning (85).
WHO IS AT RISK?
Heat can exacerbate existing medical conditions and can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke.
WHAT CAN I DO?
– drink plenty of water even if you aren’t thirsty
– cool off with wet towels and cool foot baths or showers
– stay in cool or air-conditioned buildings if you can
– stay out of the sun in the heat of the day
– avoid strenuous activity and
– check on sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives
– don’t leave people or animals in hot cars