Let’s talk about the weather and heat-related illness

In Central Queensland, News, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay by PHN Communications

With multiple heatwaves forecast for this summer, Country to Coast, QLD is urging residents to take care and prevent heat-related stress and illness. Though a lesser-known killer, heatwaves are the most frequent cause of extreme weather-related injury hospitalisations and deaths in Australia, according a recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Let’s talk about the weather: injuries related to extreme weather.

According to the report, extreme heat in Australia accounted for 7,104 injury hospitalisations and 293 deaths in the 10-year period analysed (2012-2022).  Apart from Tasmania, exposure to excessive natural heat was the most common cause leading to injury hospitalisation in all states and territories. From 2019 to 2022, there were 2,143 hospital admissions related to extreme heat, including 717 patients from Queensland.

Vulnerable members of our community, such as the elderly, pregnant woman and young children are most at risk. In some cases, this can be serious or even fatal. It’s important to regularly check on the elderly for signs of heat-related stress, which may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Bundaberg and Rockhampton residents experiencing heat-related stress can also access urgent, bulk-billed medical attention at Medicare Urgent Care Centres recently opened in each regional town. For more information and opening hours, visit Medicare Urgent Care Clinics – Country to Coast QLD (c2coast.org.au)

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness/weakness
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • thirst
  • heavy sweating
  • elevated body temperature
  • decreased urine output.

View this Queensland Health factsheet for information about signs of heat-related illness.

Tips to stay cool in the heat:

  • Find a cool or shady spot or stay in air- conditioning.
  • Stay out of the sun from 10am to 3pm.
  • Slow down and don’t push through with physical activity if you feel uncomfortable or unwell.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Wear light, loose cotton clothes.