State braces for hot summer

WA Health is urging Western Australians to prepare for a long hot summer, as the Perth metropolitan area and parts of the South West are set to face severe heatwave conditions from tomorrow (Tuesday, November 21).

With the combined effects of the El Nino and the Indian Ocean dipole, early indications from the Bureau of Meteorology are that the State could be in for hotter than average days and nights – occurring more often, and lasting for longer periods, this summer.

Successfully introduced last year, WA Health’s heatwave warning system is ready to activate again this summer with warnings that match the State’s bushfire alerts – ‘advice’, ‘watch and act’ and ’emergency warning’.

A heatwave is declared when the minimum and maximum temperatures are significantly hotter than usual in an area for three or more consecutive days.

WA’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson said it was important the community took the State heatwave warnings seriously with the potential for heatwaves to have a significant impact on human health.

“I urge the community to heed our heatwave warnings and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones,” he said.

“Check in on neighbours, friends and older family members – especially those who are in poor health, have mobility limitations or are socially isolated.”

Dr Robertson said it was important people did what they could to stay cool and well hydrated.

“Seek out somewhere to keep cool during the heat of the day,” he said.

“Places like shopping centres, libraries, community centres, movie theatres or places of worship are usually air-conditioned and can offer some relief from the heat.”

Aside from disease epidemics, Dr Robertson said heatwaves were the number one killer of people when it came to natural phenomena, including in Australia.

“The effects of dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke can be life threatening,” he said.

“Heatwaves put our most vulnerable people at risk – including the elderly, pregnant women and very young children.

Dr Robertson warned certain medications, along with alcohol and drugs could all increase the effects of heat on the body.

Heatwave alerts will be issued via, ABC Radio and other broadcasters.

For tips on preparing for heatwaves, visit HealthyWA.

WA Health Media

T: (08) 9222 4333

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