Know the effects of extreme heat, who is at risk and how you can prepare yourself and others.

A heatwave is a period of unusual and uncomfortable hot weather that could adversely affect human health, community infrastructure (such as power supply and public transport) and services. As temperatures rise so does the risk of contracting a heat related illness - a medical condition that results from the body's inability to cope with heating and cooling itself.

With heatwaves becoming a regular feature of the Victorian summer, it’s important to plan ahead and consider how you can look after yourself and others when the extreme heat hits.

Tips to survive the heat

There are simple things you can do to stay safe in the heat:

  • Keep cool- seek out air-conditioned buildings, draw your blinds, use a fan, take cool showers and dress in light and loose clothing made from natural fabrics
  • Drink plenty of water- even if you don't feel thirsty, drink water. Take a bottle with you always
  • Stay out of the sun  
  • Plan ahead - schedule activities in the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising in the heat. If you must go out wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you. 
  • Help others - look after those most at risk in the heat - your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and don't forget your pets. 
  • Hot cars kill - never leave kids, adults or pets in hot cars. The temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes

How to cope and stay safe in extreme heat

Plan ahead for extreme heat

There are simple things you can do to prepare for extreme heat:

  • Stock up on food, water and medicines so you don’t have to go out in the heat
  • Store medicines safely at the recommended temperature  
  • Check that your fan or air-conditioner works well. Have your air-conditioner serviced if necessary
  • Look at the things you can do to make your home cooler such as installing window coverings, shade cloths or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun
  • If you or anyone you know feels unwell on a hot day call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24, or call 000 in an emergency

Further information can be found at 

Better health

Department of Health and Human Services

Australian Red Cross

For information about caring for pets and animals and preventing them from suffering heatstroke, visit the RSPCA website.