Heatwave fatalities? Ambos' warn of heat stress danger

As the heatwave strikes, make sure you keep cool.
As the heatwave strikes, make sure you keep cool. Erle Levey

PARAMEDICS fear the looming Queensland heatwave could kill if not taken seriously.

Temperatures across the state's south and west are expected to spike from Thursday, topping 40 degrees in some areas.

Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service are bracing for the scorching temperatures, treating it with the seriousness of a cyclone, flood or disease outbreak.


QAS director of patient safety Tony Hucker said if not taken seriously, heat stress can be fatal.

"Heat stroke can actually kill you," he said.

"Once your brain gets to the temperature of about 40 degrees, it's dangerous.

"We need to get that temperature down as quick as we can otherwise it can be a fatal outcome."

Mr Hucker said Queenslanders needed to pay attention to the older and younger among us, to keep an eye on babies and to check on our aging neighbours.

For the rest of us, it's about being sensible and keeping cool.

"It's going to be really hot," he said.

"We need to be careful. Stay out of the sun, avoid strenuous activity and keep yourself hydrated."

"(Heat stress) can be really subtle. It can sneak up on you.

"Some people might collapse and have seizures.

"That's a really dangerous part of the heat stress spectrum."

Mr Hucker said ambulance crews were prepared and ready to respond.

But he hoped most people would take care of themselves and each other.

"Make sure you keep yourselves cool.

"And if you get into strife and someone does collapse and getsreally unwell, by all means call 000 and we'll be on our way."


How hot will it be where you are?

  • Brisbane 36

  • Bundaberg 33

  • Caloundra 35

  • Caboolture 36

  • Gatton 41

  • Gladstone 33

  • Gympie 38

  • Hervey Bay 31

  • Ipswich 41

  • Kingaroy 39

  • Mackay 33

  • Maleny 35

  • Maroochydore 34

  • Maryborough 35

  • Nambour 39

  • Rockhampton 38

  • Roma 42

  • Toowoomba 37

  • Warwick 39


Heatwave warning: Ambulance, hospitals on high alert

AS QUEENSLANDERS prepare to endure stiflingly hot weather, hospitals and ambulances have been put on high alert as they brace for trauma caused by the heat.

Southern Queensland is expected to be scorched from tomorrow until the end of the weekend with Ipswich tipped to hit 41, Warwick, 39 and Nambour to reach 39.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting temperatures could be as high as 10°C above the December averages.

The high alert is being led by Queensland Health, which is coordinating a response for all areas bracing for the looming heatwave.

Queensland Health disaster medicine expert Dr Peter Aitken told the Courier-Mail the heatwave was being treated akin to a pandemic or flood.

"We're using exactly the same processes that we would normally use to ensure our hospital and health services are prepared, whether it's for a heatwave, a cyclone that's coming, a flood or a pandemic event," he said.

Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service are being sought for further comment.


The Australian Medical Association Queensland has also released tips to stay safe:

  1. Drink plenty of water - even if you do not feel thirsty. Judge fluid intake adequacy by how often you go to the toilet - it should be many times a day!
  2. Spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned or cool environments.
  3. Keep cool by using wet towels, taking cool showers or going for a swim.
  4. Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.
  5. If you have to go outside, stay in the shade and take water with you.
  6. Wear a hat, light, loose-fitting clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses - slip, slop, slap wrap!

Topics:  editors picks general-seniors-news heatwave

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