Heat and bushfire smoke health alert for NSW

NSW Health is reminding people to be cautiousabout heat and smoke exposure during the extreme heatwave that is forecastedfor NSW this week.

Medical Advisor in Environmental Health,Dr Adi Vyas, said as temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-40s and withpersistent poor air quality from bushfire smoke, people are urged to take extraprecautions.

“Being indoors during the heat of theday is the best way to keep cool. Minimising physical activity, staying well hydratedare also important ways of reducing the risk of heat-related illness. Stayingindoors and reducing activity are also the best ways to reduce exposure tosmoky air,” Dr Vyas said.

“Heat puts lot of strain on the bodyand can cause dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke. It can also makeunderlying conditions worse. People over the age of 75, people with chronicconditions and those who live alone are most vulnerable.

“Some signs of heat related illnessinclude dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, fainting, muscle pains orcramps, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting and confusion.

“We know that combined effects ofbushfire smoke and extreme temperatures have potential to cause severe illness,hospital admissions and even death,” Dr Vyas said.

Simple precautions can reduce the riskof heat-related illness:

  • avoid the heat of the day by staying indoors andkeeping cool by using air-conditioning, fans and drawing blinds and curtainsclosed
  • keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • check on vulnerable neighbours, friends andfamily by telephone or in person if it is safe for them to do so
  • plan ahead for hot days

“People with breathing conditionsshould avoid outdoor physical activity when there’s smoke around and peoplewith asthma should also follow their Asthma Action Plan and carry theirrelieving medication with them.

“It’s important to get to a cool placequickly if symptoms occur. People showing severe signs of heat-related illnessshould seek urgent medical attention, in an emergency situation call TripleZero (000),” Dr Vyas said.

More informationcan be found at the NSW Health website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat

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