Gunnedah residents are being urged to take precautions for heat stress after successive days of high temperatures and a forecast of more to come later this week.

A severe heatwave warning for the North West Slopes and Plains, which includes Gunnedah, was due to expire today. But temperatures were expected to reach the low 40s in Gunnedah today and fall to only 39 degrees on Friday for Australia Day.

The mercury reached 40.8 degrees at the Gunnedah Airport observation station on Monday, 38.9 on Sunday but just 36.1 degrees last Saturday.

Some relief (of sorts) was on the way from Saturday to Monday with highs between 33-36 degrees.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned people should seek a place to keep cool, such as their home, a library or community centre and to close windows and draw blinds, curtains or awnings early in the day to keep the heat out of the home.

Signs of heat-related illness can include headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and cramps. People with these symptoms should cool down right away, move out of the sun and seek shade or air conditioning, take a cool shower or bath if possible and take sips of water.

People who don’t respond to these steps or who show symptoms suggesting a more severe illness, including a sudden rise in body temperature, who are no longer sweating, showing aggressive or strange behaviour or who are fitting, should seek urgent medical attention or call Triple Zero (000).

NSW Ambulance associate director of clinical practice, Marty Nichols, explained that people should also keep an eye on their neighbours in periods of warmer weather.

“I encourage everyone to keep a close eye on more vulnerable members of our community, particularly the elderly or those with chronic medical conditions when the weather is hot,” Mr Nichols said.

“Parents and carers should also keep a particularly close eye on babies and young children as they can be more sensitive to the heat.”

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