Heat wave expected in Western Cape

2013-12-20 12:44


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The South African Weather Service has issued an advisory, warning about a heat wave with persistently high temperatures and extremely high fire danger conditions over the West Coast District of the Western Cape until Saturday.

Highs of 30 degrees or more are expected in Cape Town, while places like Calvinia, Clanwilliam, Beaufort Wes and Graaf Reniet will reach 36 degrees and higher.

Those said to be typically at risk are children under four and the elderly. Residents are also being asked to be aware of pets and animals who should not be left exposed in direct sunlight

Precautionary measures to take during a heat wave:

•    Drink plenty of water. Water is the best liquid for hydration during a heat wave.
•    Never leave children unattended, especially outside.
•    Never leave children or pets unattended in motor vehicles.
•    Take care of pets and other animals – they should not be directly exposed to the sun
•    Be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion.
•    Stay indoors in the coolest room of your home as much as possible, and splash your face with cold water to cool down.
•    Keep rooms cool by using shade cloth or reflective material on the outside of the window.
•    If it is safe to do so, open windows at night when the air is cooler.
•    Cyclists are advised not to cycle as they can sustain heat-stroke and cardiac problems.
•    Listen to alerts on the radio and television for up-to-date weather reports.
•    Avoid hiking and walks, especially from 10:00 to 16:00. If you have to hike during this time, take along plenty of liquids, use an adequate sun-protection, wear suitable clothing and notify somebody of your intended travel plans.    

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion:

Some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning. Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia.  Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion before progressing to a heat stroke. 

•    Nausea
•    Vomiting
•    Fatigue
•    Weaknes
•    Headache
•    Muscle cramps and aches
•    Dizziness

•    High body temperature
•    The absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
•    Rapid pulse
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Strange behaviour
•    Hallucinations
•    Confusion
•    Agitation
•    Disorientation
•    Seizure
•    Coma

If somebody you know is displaying any of these symptoms the best course of action is to refer them to a medical doctor or hospital emergency room.  For updated weather forecasts visit SA Weather Service or call the Weatherline at 082 162.

Heat wave tips source - capetown.gov.za

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