Tempearures forecast to stay high this week

2010-02-09 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S temperature is expected to reach 37ºC today.

Since Friday, an increasing number of heat-related conditions have been reported. “We’ve had one confirmed case of heat fatigue and five heat-related cases,” said Medi-Clinic’s Reshnee Beekrum.

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said paramedics have received several calls from people distressed by the heat.

Wisani Maluleke of the Durban Weather Office said the weather is expected to remain in the mid- to high thirties until Friday.

“Unfortunately, taking into account the discomfort index, we may feel temperatures rising to what could feel like 40 degrees,” Maluleke said.

Despite talk of a looming cold front, Maluleke predicted “no significant change in the temperature due to a high-pressure system”.

Experts said direct exposure to the sun between 11 am and 3 pm is dangerous.

“Dehydration is the main concern during this time,” said Beekrum. “Increased perspiration means people lose more water than they consume.”

She said people should drink more water. “Energy drinks also help replace lost electrolytes,” said Beekrum.

Wicks said a mixture of one litre of water, eight teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of salt will also help replace lost electrolytes.

“People, especially older folks, believe because they are drinking tea and coffee they are okay. Tea and coffee are diuretics and cause you to lose more water.”

Pins and needles, cramps, abdominal pains and headaches are all symptoms of dehydration. “In extreme cases, blurred vision can indicate dehydration. Be safe and seek medical attention if necessary,” Beekrum said.

Heat stroke is another danger in high temperatures. Elderly and unfit individuals and children are most susceptible to heat stroke.

Removing excess clothing, pouring lukewarm water over the body and placing ice packs in the armpits, under the knees and alongside the neck are all ways to avoid heatstroke.





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