Heat wave warning and prevention tips of heat exhaustion
The Tshwane Emergency Services Department (EMS) wishes to caution members of the community about the anticipated extremely hot weather conditions as predicted by the South African Weather Services. This heat is expected to be with us for at least a week, however, will return from time to time during this summer season.
The Emergency Services Department is always ready to respond to any incident related to heat wave and residents are urged to report such cases related to heat waves to the Emergency Control Centre on 012 358 6300/6400.
Residents are reminded of the following critical information to adhere to under extremely hot weather conditions:
Extremely high temperatures can be life threatening for children as they spend more time outdoors and are more active, adults exercising outdoors, people with who suffer from lung or airway diseases, elderly people and people with disabilities as well as people with diseases like epilepsy in particular, as they are most vulnerable to heat wave that can result in heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person exercises or works in a hot environment and the body cannot cool itself adequately. Should sweating be insufficient to meet the cooling demands of the body, heat-related illnesses can occur. These heat related illnesses are presented with minor symptoms such as heat rash, which progresses to heat cramps, then heat exhaustion, and finally to heat stroke (a life-threatening medical condition).
Dehydration occurs, as excessive sweating causes loss of water, which leads to muscle cramps, weakness, nausea and vomiting. This makes it difficult to drink enough fluid to replenish the body’s water supply. The lack of body water impairs further sweating, evaporation and cooling. Heat exhaustion presents symptoms such as profuse sweating, weakness, muscle cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Relative humidity is another important factor in developing heat exhaustion. If the humidity is too high, sweat on the skin cannot evaporate into the surrounding air and the body cannot cool down.