Rise in heat related illness among elderly after heat wave
MACKAY sweltered through the first day of 2018, with temperatures feeling like 36 degrees and the elderly suffering in the heat.
Though the city reached a maximum of 33, the combination of a hot northerly wind and high humidity pushed up the apparent temperature, Sky News chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
"It actually feels warmer than it is, because the winds are fresh but the humidity is high," he said.
It was hotter in the west. Moranbah hit a maximum of 40 degrees and Clermont was sitting on 39.7 at 4pm yesterday.
The region has seen an "extended run with temperatures just a little bit above average" and there will be no respite from the heat tomorrow - Mackay's maximum expected to hit 34 degrees.
In the past 48 hours, the Mackay Base Hospital Emergency Department has seen an increase in heat related illness among the elderly.
"We think this heat is playing a big role on the influx of elderly patients," Emergency Department director Dr Pieter Nel said.
He said the heat-related illnesses were not confined to dehydration, but also chest pains, strokes and other respiratory infections.
"It's difficult to put the number (of elderly) patients to it but there is definitely an increase," he said. "I would say at least 10 per cent increase in presentations because of the heat."
Dr Nel said family needed to take care of the elderly, and look out for each other.
He urged the elderly to keep up their water intake to try to stay cool.
That message was echoed by Seniors Minister Coralee O'Rourke.
"It's particularly important to look out for our seniors over summer, with heat and humidity a risk to the health of older people," she said.
She urged people to make sure they are "safe and well".
Cooler days are on the way as a trough moves across Central Queensland bringing cloud cover.
Temperatures are expected to fall slightly from tomorrow.