Heat Health Alerts

The Chief Health Officer has issued a heat health alert for for Sunday 25 December 2016.

The Department of Health (Victoria) issues Heat Health Alerts to advise the community when a period of hot weather is predicted that could impact on human health, community infrastructure (such as the power supply and public transport), and services.

Residents and visitors should make preparations necessary to respond to heatwave conditions given the many impacts hot weather can have on people's health, normal operations and essential services.

See further information about heat health alerts.

Total fire ban days

Total fire ban sets legal restrictions on what activities can or cannot occur in a particular district for that day. It aims to reduce the activities that may start a fire. A total fire bans is declared by district or for the whole state. There are nine districts in Victoria and Moreland is part of the Central District.

For more information about fire bans, visit Country Fire Authority.

Information and advice for staying safe and healthy on hot days

What is a heatwave?

A heatwave is an extended period of very high temperatures, often with humidity. Excessive heat is when the temperature stays close to 10 degrees above the average temperature.

Heatwaves can affect anybody, including the young and healthy, but there are certain population groups more at risk than others. People over 65 years old, people with a chronic medical condition or disability, and people living alone or socially isolated are at higher risk.

Heatwaves can cause illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke which may be fatal.

Things to do when it's hot

Heat-related illness can occur when the body is unable to adequately cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn’t enough and the body temperature keeps rising.

Extreme hot weather and prolonged heatwave conditions can cause heat-related illnesses that can be very serious.

Heat-related illness can range from mild conditions such as a rash or cramps to very serious conditions such as heat stroke, which can kill. Heat may worsen the condition of someone who already has a medical condition such as heart disease. Prevention is the best way to manage heat-related illness.

Check on your neighbours, friends and family

Plan ahead

  • plan ahead for hot days and think about where you can go when the heat hits.

Keep out of the heat

  • stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest part of the day, 10 am - 3 pm
  • do activity that requires effort, like exercise or gardening, during the cooler parts of the day before 10 am
  • if you are outside wear a hat and light loose fitting clothes, preferably natural fibres, and
  • go to an air-conditioned building in your local area to cool off, such as a shopping mall or swimming pool.

Stay cool

  • reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows using external shades or light-coloured curtains
  • ensure there is enough air circulation, either from an air conditioner or by leaving a secured window or door open, and
  • splash yourself several times a day with cold water, especially your face and the back of your neck - a loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can also help you stay cool.

Keep hydrated

  • drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty - water and fruit juice are best
  • avoid alcohol, tea and coffee and sugary drinks as they make dehydration worse, and
  • eat small, regular meals rather than large meals, with more cold food, such as salads and fruit that contain water.

Get help

  • contact your local doctor for advice or call 000 in an emergency if you or someone else is suffering heat-related symptoms, such as fits, confusion or staggering, call 000 immediately.

Look after your pets

  • ensure there is water inside and out and plenty of shade in the backyard
  • pavement heat can be intense and can burn - don't walk a dog on a hot pavement
  • on very hot days allow your pet to stay inside, especially older pets, with water available, and
  • ensure that other pets, such as birds, ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs, have shade and water.

Never leave people in a hot car

  • do not leave people (or pets) in a hot, parked car, especially children. There are no excuses and no exceptions.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke can be caused by dehydration and increased exposure to heat and radiant heat. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can cause someone to collapse or fall unconscious.

To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and avoid activities that can cause an increase in your body heat.

Some drugs, such as ecstasy and speed, also raise the body’s temperature, while alcohol dehydrates the body.

Heat stroke symptoms

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:

  • very high body temperature
  • red, hot, dry skin with no sweating
  • dry swollen tongue
  • rapid pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness, confusion, nausea, or
  • eventual unconsciousness.

What to do for heat stroke

If someone you are with develops heat stroke:

  • call triple zero (000) for an ambulance
  • while waiting for emergency medical help, move the person to a cool, shady area and lay them down
  • remove clothing and wet skin with water or wrap in wet cloths, fanning continuously
  • do not give the person fluids to drink
  • position an unconscious person on their side and clear their airway
  • monitor the body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops below 38°C, and
  • if medical attention is delayed, seek further instructions from ambulance or hospital emergency staff.