New RACGP approach to extreme heat

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging Australians to take a different approach in times of heatwaves in order to stay ‘Covid safe’ this summer.

Chair RACGP Victoria Dr Anita Munoz says the advice for patients has to change this year due to the Covid-19 virus.

“We have done a great job in Australia to stop the Covid-19 virus spreading, and we don’t want to go backwards and see another spike in cases.

“This is why the RACGP is changing its advice for patients in times of extreme heat, particularly those who are more vulnerable, such as older people.

“Patients concerned about what to do in times of extreme heat should make an appointment with their GP – your GP can give you advice to suit your circumstances and concerns, including managing medicines during heatwaves, and how to stay hydrated and cool if you don’t have air conditioning.”

Advice for patients in extreme heat

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep your body cool. If you don’t have access to air conditioning and only have a fan, use a wet towel to dampen your skin and it will make the airflow feel cooler. If you don’t have a fan, just use a wet towel.
  • Keep your house cool. Draw the curtains or blinds to block out the sun.
  • Keep your food safe. Don’t leave anything that might spoil out in the heat.
  • Stay safe in the sun. Wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, protective clothes that cover as much skin as possible, sunglasses that meet Australian standards, and seek shade.
  • Stay tuned for instructions from emergency services authorities (such as to evacuate)
  • People who don’t have access to a private home should keep a bottle of water with them. Seek a cool, shady place, such as a public park with drinking taps, and stay safe in the sun.
  • Avoid exercise and sports on high/extreme heat days.
  • Check in on vulnerable people you know during heat waves.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.

Click here to read the RACGP’s fact sheet on extreme weather in Australia.