THE city has sweltered over the past three days as the effects of the heat wave have hit home.
The mercury peaked at 39 degrees on Saturday, causing sweaty locals to ditch their concerns about carbon footprints and turn up their fans and air-conditioners.
More than 1000 people converged on the Goulburn Aquatic Centre that day, seeking refuge from the heat, and the hot dry conditions had local fire crews on high alert.
An afternoon thunder storm sent the Rural Fire Service into a scurry as lightning strikes ignited small fires across the region.
Three crews responded to help extinguish two blazes in Bungonia National Park. Crews were also dispatched to put out fires at Springfield, in Tirrannaville, and South Marulan. Units were quick to respond and none of the fires burnt more than two hectares, say authorities.
Seven local units assisted their neighbouring RFS to extinguish a 200 acre bushfire at Mount Fairy.
Luckily, there have been no reported cases of heatstroke in the Goulburn area but with the intense heat set to stick around at least the next six days NSW Health recommends taking precautions.
Infants, the elder (people over 75) and people with a chronic medical condition are especially susceptible to heat related illnesses. As a result it is important to stay in regular contact with elderly friends, neighbours and relatives, and to look out for other vulnerable members of the community.
“Heat puts a lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It can also make underlying health conditions worse. However, being prepared and taking some simple precautions can reduce the risk of heatrelated illness,” NSW Health Medical Adviser in Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said.
They include drinking plenty of water and remembering to carry some with you when you’re out and about; avoiding alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks; planning your day around the heat, ie staying indoors between 11am and 5pm; minimising physical activity; keeping the sun out of your house by shading windows with an awning, shade-cloth or plants and shutting curtains; and keeping windows closed during the day. Open them when it cools down at night or early in the morning.
If you have an air-conditioner make sure it works and if you don’t try to spend some time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema.
Wear light, loose fitting clothes, made from natural fibres like cotton, and if you venture outdoors, ensure you are protected from the sun by wearing a hat and sunscreen.
“Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating,” Dr Broome said.
“People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.”
Temperatures will reach 30 degrees today, 37 tomorrow, 30 on Wednesday, 27 on Thursday, 37 on Friday and 38 on Saturday.
For up to date fire information, including fire bans, visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.