Australia Weather News

One suggestion to avoid the heat is to eat ice cream and drink heaps of water. - ABC

We don't need to tell you that it has been a hot week, but finding ways to stay cool is not always as easy as turning on the air conditioner.

In fact, it turns out heatwaves are Australia's deadliest natural disaster having killed more people than bushfires, cyclones and floods put together.

Before the days of indoor cooling, the best advice people were given to survive heatwaves in the 50s was to put your fingers in grapefruit or take a water ballet class.

But are there better ways to keep cool, without putting the environment at risk? Here's what our ABC Messenger audience told us.

This is how you can keep your house cool

These are some tips fromZ Tulip:

  • Close the curtains
  • Soak sheets in chilled water and hang them up over windows where there are no curtains. Then fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the fridge to re-spray the sheets once they dry out
  • Soak some fabric (perhaps a pillow case) in chilled water and hang it in front of a pedestal fan. Have another sheet soaking to swap out the old once it dries out.
  • Have an esky filled with ice to use to chill all manner of things
  • And if you need to go out into the heat for a long period of time, have a cold shower first
  • If you don't have aircon, you could use someone else's

    "I'm avoiding the heat by seeing all the new movies coming out. My tips for staying cool include ice cream, air conditioning and lots of water." —T Robinson

    "Take a waster bottle and a couple of biscuits down to the local shopping mall and spend the hottest part off the day there. Go to an air conditioned church on Sunday mornings — they would love to have you and often you will score a free morning tea" —R Mitchell

    Douse yourself in water (wherever you can get it)

    "Wet your wrists, ankles and neck. When they are cool your body feels cooler." —H O'Sullivan

    "If stuck at non-air-con home … bathtub, dripping cold shower, wearing just a wet, cold singlet to keep my core temp down, add icepacks and cold, wet handtowels as needed!" —L Stippy

    Or turn household items into cold packs

    "Face washer in water. Hold two corners and spin it forward and back so it rolls up and down. The Coolgardie effect makes it colder. Apply to face and neck." —HJ Black

    "Rub wet face flannel over limbs then stand under fan at full blast for some evaporative cooling!" —R Guerin

    "A nice small ice pack under your neck keeps the body temp right down — make sure to place a towel between your ice pack and neck." —C Hodgson

    Some say staying indoors is best

    "Do not have air con. Just keep house closed up and dark. Stay in and watch movies." —E Snow

    "My grandma told us when we were young to stay in your bathroom to cool yourself down during the heatwave because the bathroom is the coolest section or part of the house. You can also sleep in the bath. Hydrate or drink a lot of water. Stay cool." —C Haesen

    While others recommend the outdoors

    "Travel to the coast. A shady spot and an afternoon sea breeze is just the recipe." —G Taylor

    You could also stay busy

    "Stay inside and keep busy like making jam. At the end of the day you have a row of jars to admire and give away and you haven't had time to think about the heat." —K McDonald

    Eat some fruit

    "Overhead fans, watermelons and fruit plus lots of swimming cools down the whole body core." —S Phyland

    Opt for light clothing

    "Cold showers, swimming, carry umbrella, eat watermelon, wear Lycra." —E Francis

    "Use light cotton garments. Avoid synthetics." —MP D'Souza