HEATWAVE conditions forecasted for Canberra over the next few days won’t ease until Australia Day (January 26), according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Temperatures of 37-38C are forecast for Saturday and Sunday (January 23-24), which is close to severe conditions, says meteorologist Dr Helen Kirkup.
Conditions are expected to worsen on Monday, getting close to extreme conditions with temperatures of 39C. Australia Day will remain hot at 37C before a southerly breeze sees the weather cool down in the afternoon, says Dr Kirkup.
The upcoming hot weather comes with a warning from ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman, who is encouraging Canberrans to stay safe by avoiding heat-related stresses and to look out for vulnerable members of the community.
“Everyone can be susceptible to heat-related stress and illness in the heat, that’s why people need to stay hydrated and stay cool,” says Dr Coleman.
“Particularly older people, pregnant women, young children and babies are most at risk.”
Dr Coleman says to look out for the early symptoms of heat-related stress including headaches, dizziness, faintness, nausea and vomiting.
In babies, signs of heat stress include irritability, restlessness and a reduced number of wet nappies, she says.
ACT Ambulance Service chief officer Howard Wren says people will need to take extra precautions when outdoors.
“It is particularly important people seek shade during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and limit their alcohol consumption,” says Mr Wren.
Mr Wren says if someone is exhibiting the symptoms of heat stress during hot weather they should try to relocate the person to a cooler environment, lay them down and cool them with cool, wet towels to their neck and underarms. If they are conscious, give them water to drink, he says.
They should then seek medical assistance either through a GP or by calling Triple 000, Mr Wren says.