WAVE WATCH: Rising temperatures pose risk to various vulnerable groups

THE SERIOUS risk of heat-related illness as a result of the predicted heatwave over the next few days has Western NSW Local Health District urging caution.

Temperatures are predicted to be extreme in many western parts of the region with Broken Hill expected to reach as high as 43 degrees for the next few days and staying above 40 into next week.

Walgett and Bourke will also have temperatures above 40, while a number of other centres including Dubbo will reach the high 30s.

Population Health director Dr Therese Jones said while heat-related illness could affect anyone, certain groups were particularly vulnerable.

These include the over-75s, infants and children, people with a chronic medical condition and people who live alone.

"We gave warnings on heat at the end of November and people responded well to those warnings. We have similar high temperatures now and people need to be aware and take care, " Dr Jones said.

"During a heatwave, 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.

"Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.

"People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their general practitioner or local emergency department."

Some simple precautions can help people minimise their risk of heat-related illness:

- Drink plenty of water, and remember to carry some with you when you are out and about.

- Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks.

- Plan your day around the heat. Stay indoors between 11am and 3pm, minimising physical activity.

- Keep the sun out of your house by shading windows with an awning, shade-cloth or plants. Shutting curtains will also help.

- Keep windows closed during the day, then open them when it cools down at night or the early morning.

If you have an air-conditioner, make sure it is working.

If you do not have an air-conditioner, try to spend some time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema.

Wear light, loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton.

More information can be found on the NSW Health website.

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