Despite the forecast of three 40°C-plus days, Shepparton's weather has not been declared a heatwave, although Greater Shepparton City Council said it was in an alert phase.By Darren Linton
The next week won’t officially be a heatwave despite the forecast of temperatures higher than 40°C for three of the next four days.
The Department of Health is responsible for declaring a heatwave and for Shepparton this is based on a mean temperature of 32°C for an extended period.
The mean is derived by adding the minimum and maximum forecast temperatures and dividing by two, which for the five days from tomorrow produces totals of 31°C, 32°C, 28°C, 32°C and 30°C.
Greater Shepparton City Council director community Kaye Thomson said at this stage a heatwave had not been declared.
‘‘Greater Shepparton is certainly in an alert phase, but no official heatwave warning has been issued as yet,’’ she said.
‘‘For extreme heat conditions council does have a heatwave plan which facilitates a co-ordinated response to prevent and minimise the adverse effects of extreme hot weather conditions on vulnerable individuals in our community, and this will be put into immediate action if a heatwave is declared.’’
Ms Thomson said the longer-range forecast indicated the hot weather would extend through to January 15 and she urged people look out for others vulnerable to the heat.
‘‘Those who are vulnerable to heat-related issues include people aged 65 years and over, children under five years of age, pregnant or nursing mothers, people with a disability or pre-existing medical conditions, those living alone with little social contact and people taking certain medications such as those for multiple sclerosis and for certain mental health conditions,’’ she said.
‘‘We urge people to take precautions during the warmer days, including encouraging businesses who have staff required to work outdoors in high temperature conditions to explore alternative work activities to ensure good health of their staff.’’
Shepparton ambulance paramedic John Morris said with three days of more than 40°C forecast everyone needed to take care of themselves.
‘‘Heat stroke is preventable and it is up to individuals to take a common sense approach,’’ he said.
‘‘You can make yourself really sick.’’
Mr Morris said the elderly were less able to detect temperature changes in their body and so were more vulnerable.
‘‘We really rely on people checking their elderly relatives,’’ he said.
The symptoms of heat stroke are headache, nausea, a flushed face, hot dry skin and no perspiration and, as a patient deteriorates, chills with a rapid pulse and a temperature of more than 38°C.
‘‘The first aid is to remove them from the sun, cool them down and seek medical assistance because they can’t rehydrate by themselves,’’ Mr Morris said.
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