Beat the heat: Don't forget your drink - a brief public education program

Tracey Oakman, Helen Byles-Drage, Rodney Pope, Jessica Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The Beat the Heat: don't forget your drink program was initiated to enable the general public to recognise and manage heat stress. It was accompanied by a telephone survey to assess program reach and knowledge and behaviours of the general public in managing heat stress.

METHODS: The program was implemented in the Riverina-Murray region of New South Wales, in the summer of 2008/09, through radio and television sound bytes, newspaper announcements, distribution of posters and brochures, and public talks. Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews were conducted with 328 randomly selected participants from across the region.

RESULTS: Sixty-three per cent of participants reported hearing heat health warnings and 53% changed their heat management strategies, although only 25% recalled the program slogan. On average, participants self-rated their understanding of managing heat health at 7.9 on a 10 point scale. More than 75% of participants said they would recognise the symptoms of heat stress. Most reported exposure to heat and health information from television, radio and newspapers rather than from posters, brochures and talks. Those at greatest risk included people who worked or exercised outdoors, men and those taking medication.

CONCLUSIONS: Television, radio and newspapers were successful media for the program. Knowledge and responses of the general public to heat risks were well developed, with several exceptions - people taking medications, or working or playing sports outdoors, as well as tourists and men. These exceptions should be targeted in future programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-50
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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