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Health and safety tips

Have fun outdoors and stay safe

Australia is a safe and healthy place to live, and there’s a lot to see and do. You will probably be studying in a town or city, but you may also want to experience the wild beauty of its oceans, mountains, rivers and the famous ‘outback’ or ‘bush’.

Before you begin your adventure, there are some important things you can do to stay well and avoid accidents.

Be sun-smart

Don’t underestimate the power of the Australian sun. Check the UV rating regularly and wear an SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion to protect your skin from harmful rays. Avoid going out in the sun around midday and remember to pack of good sunglasses and a sunhat for extra protection on hotter days.

The weather can be dry or humid, depending on where you are in Australia. It can get very hot quite quickly, so always carry water to stay hydrated.

Most Australian public buildings and educational institutions have air conditioning and many homes do as well. Try to stay indoors or in the shade as much as you can when the weather is very hot.

Watch out for wildlife

Have you heard scary stories about Australia’s big sharks and poisonous snakes and spiders? Don’t worry, they are usually exaggerated.

If you live in an Australian town or city, you will probably never see them. Even if you do, the chances of being bitten or stung are low.

  • Australian Snakes are timid animals and mostly harmless. If you see a snake, stay calm and walk away - it will most likely disappear. If you are in country areas, be watchful and don’t walk around without shoes. Avoid long grass where snakes can hide, especially in summer.
  • Australian spiders are not deadly, but some kinds of spider are poisonous. If you are bitten, see a doctor immediately for treatment. Don’t touch spiders and be careful where you put your hands! 
  • Shark attacks in Australia are very rare, partly because shark netting is used to protect popular swimming beaches. To stay safe, swim at protected beaches and avoid swimming at evening or dusk and in very deep water.
  • Crocodiles are found in the northern parts of Australia. Attacks are rare, but crocs can be very dangerous. You will see plenty of warning signs in areas where they are found. Always ask for expert advice before you camp or fish near a river, deep pool or mangrove.

Swim where it’s safe

If you are at the beach, always swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags. The flags show you where it is safe to swim and where lifeguards are on duty.

Pay attention to any signs or warnings you see. A single yellow flag means that it may be dangerous to swim. A red flag means that the beach is closed because it is unsafe. The lifeguards are there to help you, so if you are not sure where to swim, ask them.

If you are swimming in a river, creek or waterhole, never jump or dive into the water unless you can see the bottom. You could hurt or even fatally injure yourself on hidden rocks or tree branches.

Asthma and allergies

Spring and early summer in Australia can trigger hay fever and if you have asthma, heavy thunderstorms can make it worse. Follow the pollen counts and weather forecasts, so you know what’s coming. Stick to your asthma action plan and make sure that it is up to date and includes thunderstorm advice. Hay fever and asthma is fairly common in Australia and doctors and pharmacies can help you with advice and medicines.

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