South Africa: Avoid Exposure to Hot Temperatures

19 September 2019

The Department of Water and Sanitation has called on South Africans living in areas that are affected by the current heatwave to avoid unnecessary exposure to the heat and to drink plenty of water to calm their bodies.

Large parts of the country are currently experiencing high temperatures as a result of the change of weather patterns from winter to summer.

The South African Weather Services has predicted that the searing heat will continue until early next week when temperatures are expected to tone down. Hydrologically, such temperatures are normally followed by showers to usher in the summer season.

"In these blistering conditions South Africans are advised to avoid unnecessary exposure and stay indoors until late afternoon when the heat has subsided. Those who are forced by special circumstances such as work and school should drink as much as three litres of tap water to cope.

"Taking fizzy drinks and alcohol is a definite no-no as this might impact on their health," the department said.

The consequences of being exposed to hot weather conditions can cause health problems and may affect performance.

As the temperature or heat burden increases, people may feel increased irritability, loss of concentration and ability to do mental tasks.

How to survive a heat wave

Stay indoors and stay cool;

Take cold showers to lower your body temperature;

Cover windows with reflectors and drapes;

Drink plenty of water, as much as four cups an hour if it's really hot; and

Eat regular, light meal.

People - especially children - who cannot swim must avoid going to swimming pools and rivers, as this may result in fatalities.

Lack of rain could put pressure on Gauteng's water

Meanwhile, the department has warned that the continuous decline in levels of Integrated Vaal River System (IRVS) could put pressure on the available water resources in Gauteng, if the province does not receive good rainfalls in the next coming weeks.

According to the department's report, the IVRS is presently floating at 65.4%, slightly down from 65.5% last week. The current levels of the IVRS stood at 80.5% at the same period last year.

Dropping week-on-week, the Vaal Dam recorded yet another decrease this week as it moved from 58.0% last week to 57.9%. This is significantly lower than the dam levels of 90.7% in the same period last year.

The Gauteng Region of the Department of Water and Sanitation appealed to water consumers to use water sparingly as the province has not had any meaningful rains.

"Water consumers are asked to take into account both the levels of the IVRS and the Vaal Dam which are dropping week-on-week. The department believes that drastically reducing usage will ensure that dam levels in Gauteng do not reach a critical point," the department said.

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