Cases of heat exhaustions recently reported at Lehurutshe Hospital in the Ramotshere-Moiloa Sub District prompted the North West Health MEC, Dr. Magome Masike to warn the public about taking necessary precautions and preventative measures against the ongoing heat wave.
You’ll recall that in the first month of the year, the Province recorded the highest temperatures which led to the death of 11 people. They suffered heat stroke as a result of dehydration.
Citing RedCross, the MEC disclosed that excessive heat in South Africa has caused more deaths than all other weather events in recent years.
He also lectured that a heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat.
“Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given,” Masike warned.
The MEC further directed that children or pets should never be left alone in enclosed vehicles during a heat wave. As highlighted by the MEC, below are the other necessary precaution and preventative measures against heat wave.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty;
- Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol;
- Eat small meals and eat more often;
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing;
- Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays;
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day;
- Postpone outdoor games, activities and take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
Masike also warned that people especially the elderly with high blood pressure and diabetic are at risk. Thus, he added that “it is important for family members to monitor this group, make sure they take their medication and stay hydrated all the time.”
The identified symptoms of heat stroke are: hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion, dizziness and slurred speech.