As the state experiences an unprecedented heatwave, with strong winds, bushfires, smoke and dust storms, Queenslanders are being urged to take steps to keep themselves safe and healthy.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said in addition to the bushfire affected areas in Central Queensland, high temperatures continue to affect large parts of the state.
“Queenslanders should take care of their physical safety first, so any advice from QFES or QPS related to fire risk should take priority,” Mr Miles said.
“Please also take precautions against dehydration and other heat-related conditions for yourself, your family, friends and neighbours.”
Queensland Health has stood up the State Health Emergency Coordination Centre (SHECC) and activated the Queensland Health Heatwave Response Plan.
Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett is urging people to take precautions against dehydration and other heat-related conditions.
“Heat-related illness can be extremely serious, and infants, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those with pre-existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable. With the temperatures we are seeing in this heat event however, everyone is at risk,” Dr Bennett said.
“Be on the lookout for symptoms such as heat rash, muscle cramps, heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.
“If someone experiences more severe symptoms including a very high body temperature, flushed or dry skin, a rapid pulse, headache or disorientation, they may have heat stroke, which can be very serious, seek medical attention immediately
“Precautions you can take against the heat include drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day—preferably cool water, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Stay indoors where possible, unless told to evacuate, and use any cooling devices available, such air-conditioning or fans.
“Limit strenuous activity and take time to adjust to the temperature. Take cool showers, soak your feet, or wear a wet bandana or washcloth around your neck.
“In some areas the heat is combined with strong dry winds, dust, and smoke from the many bushfires burning around the state.
“People with respiratory issues should stay indoors with windows and doors closed, follow any medical plan they have been provided by their doctor, such as an asthma management plan, and avoid vigorous exercise.
“If you are experiencing any adverse reactions to the dust or smoke, such as shortness of breath, prolonged coughing or wheezing, seek medical advice.”