Many Australians will be spending the day outdoors, but with temperatures set to surge into the 30s, the thousands heading to the beach or public pool will need to be extra careful to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Australia Day celebrations normally go hand-in-hand with drinking, playing cricket and picnicking by the beach – sounds fun, but there are many hidden dangers.

Heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest natural hazard, and with a long period of extreme heat expected, it’s important that people heed health and safety warnings.

Babies, children, elderly and ill people should be paid close attention to in such conditions, as they are most susceptible to fall victim to the heat and suffer things like heatstroke, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat rash.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during hot conditions:

Stay hydrated

One of the most effective ways to fight off heat-related illness is by drinking lots of water, even at times when you don’t necessarily feel thirsty. Beverages that can make dehydration worse include alcohol, hot or sugary drinks, and warm drinks like tea and coffee

Keep your body cool

Staying out of direct sunlight, drinking cold drinks, eating small meals containing salads, fruit and lighter food, and wearing light-coloured will aid in keeping your body’s temperature low. Freshening up with a cold shower, bath or dip in the ocean will also be beneficial for your body’s core temperature.

Plan ahead

Keep across the weather forecast and be familiar with when the warmest parts of the day will be. Make sure if you’re going to be out for the day, stock up on more water than you would normally take, and ensure you stay close to shade. Be sure to keep an eye on your friends and family too, and make sure they too are staying cool and hydrated. 

If you are unwell, contact your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department, and if yours or someone else’s symptoms are serious, call for an ambulance immediately on triple zero (000).

Be safe in the sun

If you are going to be spending prolonged periods of the day in the sun, make sure you prepare by wearing a high SPF sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and light breathable clothing that will keep your limbs protected.

For more information, head to Health Direct.