The region is likely to swelter this week, with the mercury set to climb as high as the mid-40s.
Health authorities are urging people to take the risk of heat-related illness seriously, with the temperature expected to peak at 45 degrees on Wednesday.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District director of public health Tracey Oakman said while heat-related illness may affect anyone, certain groups are particularly vulnerable.
These include people aged over 75s, infants and children, those with a chronic medical condition or living alone
“Every year hot weather and heat waves cause illness, hospitalisations and sometimes even deaths,” Mrs Oakman said.
“During hot weather, it is very important to stay in regular contact with your elderly friends, neighbours and relatives, and to look out for other vulnerable members of your community.”
Mrs Oakman offered some simple precautions against heat-related illness:
- Drink plenty of water, and remember to carry some with you when you’re out and about.
- If you are travelling, make sure you take water to drink in case you break down or are delayed.
- Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks.
- Plan your day. Stay indoors between 11am and 5pm and minimise physical activity.
- Keep the sun out of your house by shading windows.
“And remember, while rivers look inviting, they are a dangerous place to cool off if you are not a confident swimmer,” Mrs Oakman said.
Wagga vet Lynne Bodell said domestic pets are also at risk of heat-related illness.
She said pets, particularly cats and dogs, needed lots of cool water and shade. It is also important to make sure they water bowls are kept out of the sun.
Freezing ice blocks in pets’ water bowls can be helpful, while for some breeds a cooling bed or ice mat could be helpful.
Dr Bodell warned against walking pets on hot days.
“If you are not sure if it is too hot then first try walking in bare feet on the path or road. If you find it too hot or uncomfortable then it is too hot to walk the dog on,” she said
“Hot roads and foot paths will cause a degree of burning and pain on pads and toes. Sand and artificial turf can also get to very high temperatures.”
At Kooringal Out of School Hours Care, supervisor Naomi Berthlesen said outdoor activities are being planned to avoid the heat.
While there may still be some water play and outside fun, children could also to do “cool” activities like milk-shake making or enjoying an ice-block along with the usual range of indoor activities.