We are being reminded to find somewhere cool as Summer really arrives on the Gold Coast.
Heatwave conditions are forecast to affect much of the state from today through to early next week.
Surf Lifesaving Queensland Gold Coast’s Nathan Fife said it was predicted we would see strong winds over coastal waters on Friday – possibly between 20 and 25 km/h.
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At the Seaway we are looking for a top temperature of 29 degrees, further inland we could see highs of 36. Some locals tell us they’re expecting highs of 38 in Beaudesert.
The Fire Danger is currently high, but the Rural Fire Service expects that to increase.
It will also stay dry on Friday, with no rain forecast. We could see showers and a thunderstorm in the Hinterland on Saturday. The mercury at the Seaway is expected to climb to 31 on Saturday, which means it will be even warmer further inland.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said just like the winter flu season, summer places additional service demands on ambulance and hospital staff.
“As the community becomes exposed to an increased risk of heat-related illness, characteristically ambulance and hospital services see an increase in workload and demand,” Minister Dick said.
“Last summer Queensland paramedics responded to more than double the monthly average number of callouts for heat-related illnesses, with a more than 30 per cent increase in callouts in the Brisbane Metropolitan area at peak times during January and February 2016.
“At that time the average temperature was between 29 and 32 degrees, much lower than the current forecast temperature of the low 40s for inland areas the State.
“To beat the heat, we need to be vigilant as a community and look out for those who are most vulnerable.
“This includes the elderly, babies and young children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those who suffer pre-existing medical conditions or who take certain medications.
“It is also important to be mindful of physically active people, including manual workers who are primarily outdoors and exposed to the elements.”
Minister Dick said simple choices such as wearing light-coloured clothing made from cotton materials, drinking more water and eating smaller and regular meals could make a difference to staying cool and well during the hot spell.
Tony Hucker QAS Director Clinical Quality and Patient Safety said hot weather can adversely affect our health if precautions are not taken to avert risk in the early stages.
“Heat-related illnesses have the potential to be life-threatening and may include heat stroke,” Mr Hucker said.
“Symptoms may vary from patient to patient but it is important to be aware of the various illnesses and the warning signs.
“A person suffering from heat exhaustion may present with symptoms that include muscle cramps, heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and fainting.
“Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness that presents with symptoms similar to heat exhaustion but which may also include an extremely high body temperature; red, hot, dry skin, but possible some clamminess; a rapid pulse; headache and confusion.”
Mr Hucker said if people suspected someone may be suffering from a heat-related illness, they should phone Triple Zero (000) immediately.
“Lay the person down in a cool spot, remove as much clothing as possible and give them water to drink if they can swallow,” he said.
“You can also cool the person down with a cool shower, bath or sponge by covering them with a wet sheet.
“If they become unconscious, place them on their side and follow the Emergency Medical Dispatcher’s instructions as they provide vital first aid advice until paramedics arrive.”
Mr Hucker said it is just as important to be mindful this summer when trying to keep cool by undertaking activities in, on or near water.
“Children should always be supervised where water is concerned as accidents can happen in seconds but stay with us for a lifetime.
“Those undertaking activities on the water such as jet-skiing and tubing should observe their surroundings and prioritise the safety of themselves and those around them.”
The RSPCA is reminding pet owners to plan ahead and ensure their pets have plenty of fresh water and shelter available during the hot days forecast.
Top tips for animal lovers:
1. Cool Ideas
Ensure your pet has an ample supply of shelter and water and do not tether your dog in the backyard. RSPCA Queensland’s Chief Inspector Daniel Young says, “A rope or a chain can easily become entangled in furniture or plants and that can be fatal. It’s far better to make your yard secure in the first place. We would also recommend that there are at least two to three containers of water in case one gets knocked over.” Cooling mats and making frozen treats for your pets also helps!
2. Ouch! The Sun!
Exercising dogs in the middle of the day can be dangerous at this time of the year. Not only can they overheat very quickly, the hot bitumen can burn paw pads! The best time of day for a dog walk is sunrise and sunset. If you have a cat or dog with light pigment, consider also using pet sunscreen!
3. Dogs Die in Hot Cars
Never leave your pet unattended in a motor vehicle or on the back of a ute! The RSPCA tested a light coloured vehicle this week and the temperature rose to 47 degrees in 12 minutes. If you added a panting dog to the equation and they would have been dead.
4. Some Dogs Breeds are More Susceptible to Heatstroke
Flat faced dogs (Brachycephalic breeds) have shortened airways which reduces the effectiveness of panting. The weather does not even have to be particularly hot for these breeds to develop symptoms of heat stress.
5. Don’t forget the natives!
Leave out extra containers of water to help our native wildlife keep cool.