It's a long-held view that summer's hottest days arrive just as the children return to school – and that's set to ring true with a week of high temperatures forecast across the country in the coming week.
The North Canterbury town of Waiau recorded a high of 37 degrees on Thursday - the warmest temperature recorded in New Zealand in almost seven years.
Weather forecasters are predicting a run of hot days, peaking on Tuesday and Wednesday with forecast highs of 32 in Christchurch.
The small West Coast town of Reefton is set to swelter with 5 days of predicted 30+ temperatures.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says older people, children and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk from the impacts of heat stress.
"It's especially important to stay out of the sun, avoid extreme physical exertion and ensure that babies, children, and elderly people (and pets) are not left alone in stationary cars."
Dr Humphrey says extreme heat can affect blood pressure & hydration, and he urges people to seek help if they feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst or a headache.
"Good hydration is key, try to consume at least two litres of water a day and avoid drinking alcohol in the hot weather as it speeds up dehydration."
As well as being SunSmart (Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap) if outdoors, residents are advised to keep their houses cool by opening windows to get a breeze, closing curtains to keep the sun out and consider using the cool cycle on heat pumps.
If you feel unwell and are concerned about your health, or someone else's, seek medical advice.
In Canterbury you can call your own General Practice team 24/7 for care around the clock – after hours a nurse can provide free health advice. If it's urgent and you need to be seen, they will tell you what to do and where to go.
Further information on keeping healthy in hot weather will be available later this afternoon on our website www.cdhb.health.nz
Advice on coping in the heat (PDF, 39 KB).
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