Extremely hot days have the potential to cause adverse health effects.
Who is at risk in hot weather?
All people may feel the effects of extremely hot weather but certain groups are more vulnerable:
Protecting yourself and your family in hot weather
When planning trips, take account of possible longer travelling times. Keep your home and office first-aid kit and disaster management packs up to date.
Remember that pets and animals are also prone to heat effects – keep them in the shade and provide plenty of water.
Staying cool indoors when it’s hot outside
Older people who live alone may need to be checked on daily to ensure they are well.
How do I help myself or someone who may be suffering from heat-related illness
If you feel weak, anxious, dizzy, have intense thirst and a headache, do the following as soon as possible:
A heat stroke can occur suddenly and may progress rapidly to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone may be suffering the effects of a heat stroke, refer him/her to the hospital.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive:
Symptoms and basic management of heat-related conditions
Signs and symptoms
Mild and Moderate
A feeling of thirst, fatigue and light
Drink water or oral solutions
headedness. Can be associated
with headaches. Constipation may
Rest in a cool area.
occur with dehydration (especially
If symptoms do not improve seek
in the elderly).
If constipated discuss treatment
options with a medical professional.
Small red itchy rash on the face,
Rash usually improves without
neck, upper chest, under breast,
groin and scrotum areas. Infection
Minimise sweating by staying in an
air-conditioned environment, taking
frequent showers and wearing light
Keep the affected area dry.
Topical antihistamine and antiseptic
creams may reduce discomfort and
prevent secondary infection.
Swelling of the lower limbs,
Treatment is not
acclimatisation to the heat.
Brief loss of consciousness or
The person affected should rest in a
dizziness on standing.
cool place and lie down with legs and
Seek medical attention to rule out
other causes of faints.
Painful muscular spasms, often in
Immediate rest in a cool place.
the legs, arms or abdomen.
Stretch muscles and massage
Usually occurs at the end of
Oral rehydration may be needed
using a solution containing
Medical attention should be sought if
heat cramps are sustained for more
than one hour.
Symptoms of intense thirst,
Move to a cool shaded room or air-
weakness, discomfort, anxiety,
dizziness, fainting and headaches.
Apply cold wet sheet or cold water
spray and use a fan if available.
Severe and Life-Threatening
Symptoms of confusion,
Shift patient to the hospital
disorientation, convulsions and
Worsening of pre-
This is especially of concern in
Seek medical attention if you have a
people with heart disease,
chronic condition and develop new
strokes, and respiratory disease.
Symptoms can vary from mild to
If any severe symptoms, refer to the hospital
severe, depending on the disease.
This can include but is not limited
to chest pains, shortness of
breath, dizziness or confusion.
Table adapted from WHO Heat Health Action Plans Guidance, 2008