Scorching weather conditions are expected throughout KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
The South African Weather Service (Saws) said temperatures are expected to reach a sizzling 40 degrees in Ulundi and 39 degrees in Pietermaritzburg and Ixopo on Thursday.
Temperatures in other KZN town are predicted to range between 30 to 37 degrees.
SA Weather forecaster, Siwe Sikhakhane, said the high temperatures in KZN this week are as a result of high-pressure systems sitting over the eastern parts of the country.
He said temperatures are expected to remain high again on Friday as well and KZN residents can only expect cooler temperatures on Saturday with a high possibility of rainfall.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Dehydration, hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can pose very real threats to people’s health, particularly to vulnerable children and the elderly.
What are hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heatstroke?
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are forms of hyperthermia. Sometimes an individual will suffer from heat exhaustion which progresses to heatstroke, while other individuals may develop heatstroke rapidly and without warning.
Heatstroke occurs when the human body’s core temperature increases beyond 40 degrees Celsius. The condition can be fatal if not treated properly and promptly. Heatstroke can cause an individual to go into a coma and suffer organ failure.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, headache, vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramps and aches and dizziness.
Preventing hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Netcare 911 offers the following tips on how to cope during hot weather conditions:
•Try to avoid any strenuous physical activity in the heat or in hot, humid conditions.
•Avoid exposure to the sun in the middle of the day, when the UV intensity is at its most intense.
•Make sure that you stay hydrated by drinking sufficient fluids such as water and sports drinks. However, do not overdo your drinking, as it is also possible to over-hydrate. You should not feel bloated after drinking fluids. Drink small amounts at regular intervals.
•Avoid drinks that may dehydrate you further, such as alcohol, fizzy colas, tea and coffee.
•Wear wrap-around UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed sun hat.
•Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of sun protection factor (SPF) 15+ liberally on areas of the body not protected by clothing. Reapply frequently.
•Take care to ensure that babies and children are well protected and kept cool.
•Avoid exposure to the sun during pregnancy.
•Avoid excessive exposure to the sun whilst swimming or engaging in other water related activities.
•Check if any medication you are taking may affect your sensitivity to heat.
•Do not leave anyone, especially babies, small children or the elderly in a locked car, not even for a few minutes, as the temperature inside a car can rise to exceptionally high levels within a very short period.
What to do in case of heatstroke
Heatstroke should be treated as a medical emergency and emergency medical services should be contacted if it is suspected that someone is suffering from the condition. It is vital to attempt to get the person’s body temperature down in order to try and prevent the potential for organ damage.