The South African Weather Services has issued a heatwave warning for various parts of the country.
On what exactly constitutes a heatwave, SA Weather Services says for South African conditions, a heatwave is to be declared when “the maximum temperature at a particular station should reach or exceed the average maximum temperature for the hottest month, for three or more consecutive days”. This is what we have been experiencing lately.
SA Weather Services has also issued a warning for Gauteng residents to stay out of the sun and take precautions because of the extremely hot temperatures and heatwave conditions that grip the province. Other parts of the country facing heatwave conditions include the Highveld of Mpumalanga and the Southwestern Bushveld of Limpopo, which was projected to end on 4 October 2022 but seems to be continuing.
Taking to social media to complain about missing the cooler winter conditions, South Africans have also noted feeling the heat (literally). Unfortunately for us, we are also in the mid of rolling blackouts - which means access to air-conditioning to cool down during this time may not be available.
Here are a few ways for you to cool down during these next few days of the heatwave, sans air-conditioning:
According to The New York Times;
- At home, if possible, shade or cover windows that are exposed to direct sunlight.
- If the air inside feels cooler than outside, close the windows and try to keep the cooler air inside. If not, keep doors and windows open when outside temperatures are cooler.
- Avoid cooking. Instead, prepare cool, light meals that will require little to no use of the stove and oven.
- When temperatures fall slightly in the evening and overnight, it’s wise to open windows (with caution if your area has mosquitos) to allow cooler air to move in.
- Use cooler water for bathing, which will keep your body’s temperature down and won’t add unnecessary heat to the home. A swim is also advisable.
- Incandescent light bulbs, those glass orbs with glowing wire centers, produce a lot of heat. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs may keep your home cooler and help you reduce energy costs.
If you’re outside of your home:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Because your body sweats to cool you down and you dehydrate quite significantly in the process. If the temperature goes over 30 degrees Celsius, it is a good idea to drink eight glasses of water during the day.
- Wear breathable clothes. According to Health24, fabrics like cotton allow your skin to breathe, unlike synthetic materials like nylon, which make you sweaty and uncomfortable.
- Avoid direct contact with the sun.
- If possible, work around the heat. It is advised that you do your best to complete errands before the midday sun and temperatures peak or later in the day when temperatures begin to drop.
- Sunscreen, a cap and an umbrella. While this one may seem obvious, some people are still oblivious to the effectiveness of sunscreen. If wearing a cap is out of the question for whatever reason (maybe you just got your hair done or a hat wouldn’t fit over your ‘fro), then you can try an umbrella to help shield yourself from direct UV rays.
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