The North Island’s golden weather has created concern about heat-related injuries, as people and animals languish in the sweltering temperatures and humidity.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service has issued a warning on the dangers of excessive heat, asking people to keep an eye on the most vulnerable – elderly, young children and those with medical conditions.
Clinical director Julia Peters said the humid weather had already been disrupting people’s sleep patterns, and carried greater health risks.
February is on track to be New Zealand’s hottest with most regions at least 2C warmer than usual.
South Auckland GP Dr Peter Didsbury, the chairman of primary health care support company Procare Health, said the unusually warm weather had caused concerns for some patients, “but nothing catastrophic”.
“I haven’t seen anybody who has been severely unwell, but people are complaining of being fatigued – general tiredness. I think a lot of that is attributable to the hot weather and not sleeping well.”
One patient had fainted while working outside in the heat.
Others were experiencing swollen ankles.
At west coast beaches, surf lifesavers were treating burns from the black sand.
SPCA officials have broken into cars three times this month to free animals left in overheating vehicles.
Chief inspector Vicki Border said in the worst case they found an almost comatose Staffordshire-cross in an Auckland carpark.
The SPCA has also been dealing with “bagfuls of dead birds” as the warm, sticky weather encourages the spread of the paralysing botulism toxin in Auckland’s waterways.
In one case, more than 300 dead and dying fowl were pulled from a disused quarry in South Auckland. Ducks, swans, and even pukeko have been killed by the toxin, which is released from dead weeds in shallow, still water.
At Auckland Zoo, senior primate keeper Courtney Eparvier said most of the animals were used to far greater fluctuations in temperature.
Keepers were freezing the animals’ food and serving it to them as iceblocks.
Movenpick Mission Bay reported a record turnover of icecreams in January, with queues snaking around the block on sweltering weekends.
– Homepage image – file, sunset on Mt Te Aroha, Waikato / Natalie Narayan
on 15/02/2011 10:59pm
Hi Guys….any update on what the models are showing for a potential tropical storm next week as you mentioned earlier in the week ?
on 15/02/2011 10:51pm
I have also been strugling to keep my aquarium temperatures down. My tank is supposed to run at 26 degrees but have been 29 degrees for the last few weeks