Keeping your cool: Tips to handle a heatwave

Keeping your cool: Tips to handle a heatwave

Parts of South Africa are currently dealing with a heatwave. Here is how to best protect yourself...

Wooden thermometer showing high temperature on sunny day
Wooden thermometer showing high temperature on sunny day/ iStock

The South Africa Weather Service has warned that the current heatwave in some parts of the country will continue until Sunday. 

In some parts of the country, temperatures are expected to rise to 37 Degrees Celsius. 

Heatwaves can affect people's health and overall well-being. 

According to the World Health Organization, from 1998-2017, more than 166,000 people died due to heatwaves, including more than 70,000 who died during the 2003 heatwave in Europe. 

READ: ICYMI: Tshwane residents urged to take care as heatwave hits city

The organisation also reports that 'rapid rises in heat gain due to exposure to hotter than average conditions compromises the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can result in a cascade of illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia'.

It adds: 'Temperature extremes can also worsen chronic conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease and diabetes-related conditions.'

With all these health complications that can arise, it is wise to take precautions to ensure you minimise the risk of suffering due to the heatwave. 

- Keep hydrated by drinking water. You might feel tempted to drink fizzy drinks, however, it is important to make healthy decisions. Water is a necessity and is a better option than fizzy drinks. 

- Close windows facing the sun during the day and open all windows and shutters during the night. This will allow the cool air to come into the house. 

- Keep yourself out of direct heat and remain in the shade or indoors. 

- Try to avoid strenuous physical activity during sunny days. 

- Wear light, loose-fitting clothes of natural materials such as linen, nylon, and polyester. 

- Wear a protective hat, sunglasses, etc. 

- Wear sunscreen. It prevents sunburn, lowers risk of skin cancer and hyperpigmentation. 

READ: Natural ways to help you cope with the heatwave

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Image courtesy of iStock/ @digihelion

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