The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted ongoing heat over the next few days that will affect western NSW, western Sydney and the lower Blue Mountains.
With temperatures expected to rise at the end of the week, NSW Health has urged people to treat seriously the risk of heat-related illness.
Richard Broome, NSW Health Medical Adviser in Environmental Health, said while heat-related illnesses may affect anyone, certain groups are particularly vulnerable, including people over 75, infants and children, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live alone.
The February heatwave that affected Sydney two years ago caused about 595 emergency department visits and 96 deaths. This highlights the severity of heat-related illnesses that can also be life-threatening.
NSW Health said everyone should stay in regular contact with elderly friends, neighbours and relatives and look out for other vulnerable people.
“Heat puts a lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It can also make underlying health conditions worse. However, being prepared and taking some simple precautions can reduce the risk of heat-related illness,” said Dr Broome.
Here are some precautions to help people minimise the risk of heat-related illness:
- Drink plenty of water even when out and about;
- Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks;
- Stay indoors between 11am and 5pm and minimise physical activity;
- Keep the sun out of your house by shutting curtains or using cloths;
- Keep windows closed during the day and open only when cool at night or early in the morning; and
- Wear light, loose clothing made from natural fibres like cotton.
Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.
People with any of these symptoms should urgently seek medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.