With much of Australia in the midst of a heatwave that is forecast to worsen over the weekend, many people have retreated indoors to crank up the air-conditioning and fans.
But in NSW, the conditions have sparked concerns about potential power outages due to record high energy demands.
A warning from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) that power could be cut across the state has since been downgraded, but electricity is still in tight supply.
So what are the best ways to keep cool during a heatwave if the power cuts — or if you don’t have air-conditioning to start with?
We reached out to you for your best tips.
Use cold packs and frozen tea towels:
- Cold packs in your pillow at night works great, or fill a hot water bottle with ice cold water, says Nel Edwards.
- Jenny Grimes suggests putting wet face washers and tea towels in the freezer, then draping them over the head and arms and around the neck.
- Spray the bed sheets with water, suggests Craig Gilmore.
- Helen Robinson uses a damp handtowel in the back of the neck, frozen peas for dogs and cats to play with, and frozen watermelon cubes for people, dogs and chickens.
- Hang wet hessian bags, sheets or towels on screen doors or open windows, suggests Robin Smith. Any breeze will cool down once it goes through the wet cloth.
Keep it cool outdoors:
- Have to walk somewhere? Ruby Moon suggests completely soaking a hat with tap water beforehand and periodically pressing the brim to your forehead. She says carrying a bottle of water to pour on yourself can also help.
- Invest in a kiddie pool that everyone can fit in, says Millie Moocher. The leftover water can be used on the garden.
- Kerrie Green says she and her sister used to get a bucket of water to put their feet in. When it gets warm, refresh the water — it’s surprisingly successful in lowering your body temperature.
- Anna Salleh from ABC Science highly recommends having a blow-up pool around to lie in and cool off throughout the day.
- ABC Emergency recommends staying out of the sun … but if you need to be outside, wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sunburn will affect your body’s ability to cope with the heat.
What about keeping pets cool?
It’s important to make sure animals are also kept cool and comfortable.
Here are some tips from the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge’s animal coordinator, Jess Moody:
- Put ice in your pet’s water.
- Give pets a kid’s pool to splash in or drape them in cold towels.
- Use sprinklers, misting hoses and fans to cool pets down.
- Dim the lights or draw the blinds and keep outside animals in the shade.
- Only walk pets in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Make sure you don’t leave pets inside parked vehicles.
Remember, animals can succumb to heat stroke quickly — even in conditions that don’t feel too bad to a human.
How to keep cool when you’re at home:
- Fill the bath with cold water, suggests Craig Gilmore, and hop in. It’s a good thing to do across the day, or just before going to sleep.
- Fill some plastic bottles with ice and tie them to the back of the fan with a drip tray, suggests Anna Salleh from ABC Science.
- Handy tip from ABC Emergency: Draw your curtains, blinds and awnings at the start of the day to keep as much sun out of your home as possible.
- Wear a wet T-shirt and continue to wet it as it dries out, suggests Neil Mcnally — sitting in front of a fan or in a breeze will help with the cooling effect.
- Put bubble wrap on the windows for insulation.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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