Qld doctor warns of heatwave health risks

Most of Queensland is expected to swelter for the rest of the week, especially in the state's west.
Most of Queensland is expected to swelter for the rest of the week, especially in the state's west.

South east Queensland has experienced a cooler change from its record-breaking Monday, but the rest of the state is still sweltering.

The western Queensland town of Birdsville reached 44.4C on Tuesday, while the north west city of Mt Isa hit 42.2C.

The heatwave in the state's regional areas is expected to last for the rest of the week, which presents serious health risks.

Queensland emergency physician Kathyrn Woolfield with Doctors for the Environment Australia, said there are a wide range of illnesses which occur during times of extreme heat.

"When people think of heat related illnesses they think of heat stroke," she said.

"That is where you basically heat up from the inside and this can have lasting injuries to the brain in extreme cases."

But it is the less obvious issues with the heat that Ms Woolfield said people needed to be aware of.

These include reactions to medication when outside for too long, as well as asthma attacks due to increased dust particles in the air.

"One of the things we get is people who are fainting because they do not realise they are dehydrated," she said.

"What is concerning is that heatwaves are becoming more frequent and lasting longer."

Keeping fluids up, taking breaks in the shade if you are working outside and talking to your GP are Ms Woolfield's advice for those suffering through the high temperatures.

Australian Associated Press