Relief from the heat

2015-01-27 00:00

THERE is some good news on the way for those who have been wilting under the heat in recent days.

KwaZulu-Natal residents are to expect relief with a cold front system approaching — resulting in partly cloudy conditions for today with 80% chance of showers and tomorrow appearing to have a 60% chance of rain. Stacy Colborne, a forecaster at the SA Weather Service’s Durban offices, said the province had experienced hot weather since Thursday. With weekend temperatures ranging from the low to mid-thirties, Colborne said that the heat experienced can be attributed to a low-pressure system moving along the KZN coastline.

Residents of old age homes appear to be coping with the heat as Hilary Mumford, CEO of Padca said: “When it comes to hot days like this, we mainly ensure that the residents are sufficiently hydrated. Our residents, some are over 80 years, need special attention, as their temperature-control mechanisms don’t function like a younger person’s. We soak their feet in cold water, which helps.”

In the meantime, “everybody just endures and waits for it to cool down”, said Mumford.

The Hilton area has had water shortage problems, which affected how elderly residents dealt with the heat.

Elize Steyn, owner of Seventh Heaven old age home, said: “Especially since last week, we’ve had to make sure that our patients have to take at least 1,5 litres of fluids, otherwise they would suffer from UTIs [urinary tract infections]. We had to buy water, ice and juices. For our frail patients, we had to make our own glucose [solution]”.

Even though load shedding has made its gloomy reappearance, electrical appliance stores have seen an increase in the purchase of air-cooling products. Romilla Naidoo, store manager at Blomeyer’s, said portable air conditioners are popular, primarily for their mobility and function, whereas fans “just move the warm air”.

Dam water levels, on the other hand, have not been affected by the heat, with Midmar at 73%, Inanda at 88% and Albert Falls at 72%. Shami Harichunder, corporate stakeholder manager of Umgeni Water, said the Umgeni system that supplies uMgungundlovu, Msunduzi, parts of eThekwini and north of Ugu is “presently in a healthy state, despite a steady decline in the levels of the dams within this system caused by below-average rainfall. However, consumers need to be made aware that they must use water sparingly”.

ER24 advanced life support paramedic Emma Boreham said that incidences of heat stroke have been “surprisingly quiet”, with no cases occurring.

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