Wednesday, 15 January 2014


“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” - Steven Wright

Presently in Southern Australia we are experiencing an extreme heat wave. Melbourne is set to sizzle through 44˚C on Thursday as temperatures are on course to peak above 40˚C for four consecutive days for the first time in 100 years. On Friday the temperature is predicted to rise to 42˚C before a cool change in the evening. I went out briefly today and it was quite unpleasant.

Extreme heat causes more deaths in Australia than floods, cyclones, and lightning combined. Children, the elderly, people who have certain medical conditions, and people who spend time outside have the greatest risk of suffering from heat exposure. However, getting overheated can cause high body temperatures, brain damage, organ damage, and death in anyone, not forgetting pets and household animals.

It pays to take steps to protect yourself and your family from heat-related disorders:
  • Stay inside, especially between 10 am and 5 pm, which is the hottest part of the day.
  • Stay in air conditioned rooms.
  • Dodo not leave pets outside for extended periods and if possible take them with you in air conditioned rooms. Ensure you provide enough drinking water for your pets.
  • Walk dogs only for short periods and do so in the cooler parts of the day (early morning, evening and night).
  • If you must be outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and ensure you put on sunscreen.
  • Dress in breathable, light clothing.
  • Use lightweight, breathable covers when sleeping.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages, and caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you.
  • Drink plenty of water, iced tea and fruit juices.
  • Close your blinds and curtains to block the sun and heat during the day.
  • Exercise in an air-conditioned gym or exercise early in the morning or in the evening once it is cooler outside.
  • Supervise children playing outside and ensure they often are drinking cold water.
  • Visit your community swimming pool to cool off.
  • Remember that car seats and metal clasps for seatbelts can reach temperatures high enough to cause a burn. Avoid driving, especially if your car is not air-conditioned.
If your home is not air conditioned, consider going to a public place which is air-conditioned (shopping centres, public libraries, local council rooms that may be made available). Otherwise, at home:
  • Stay downstairs or in your basement where it is coolest.
  • Keep pets with you in cool locations.
  • Use a fan and position it to blow in the room and out a window instead of from outside to inside.
  • Avoid using your oven and stove; use small appliances such as slow cookers and tabletop grills.
  • Eat cool meals such as cold soups, salads, and fruit.
  • Drink iced water and other cool, nonalcoholic beverages
  • Never leave children, pets, or people in a car on a warm or hot day!
  • Check on older, vulnerable family members and friends on hot summer days.
  • See your doctor immediately if you have cramps, become nauseous, or you start to vomit.


  1. When I worked in Bendigo years ago, everyone went home if the temperature got to 35c and stayed there for at least two hours. Otherwise you would have had clients being sick AND workers being sick as well.

    To see players in the Tennis Open being pushed to breaking point in the 44c heat is sn insanity.

  2. Hope the weather is better now, Nicholas.