A prolonged heat wave can affect the health and well-being of people – with the elderly, young children and people who work outdoors especially at risk. However, there are also pro-active steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to the sun’s rays and keep cool during the coming months of summer.
1. Drink more water and stay hydrated. Other liquids such as energy drinks are also acceptable but water remains the best option. And, remember… Joburg’s tap water is rated among the best quality in the world.
2. Keep the sweat away. Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing such as cotton and apply anti-perspirant, even at night when you go to bed. If you venture outdoors, use an umbrella and wear a sun hat.
3. Keep your food cool and avoid the oven. Go for foods that do not require heating such as salads, cold meat and cold soup. Enjoy cold treats such as ice cream and popsicles.
4. Continue exercising – but be cautious of over-exerting yourself and schedule your work-out for the coolest times of the day. If are cooling yourself in a swimming pool, don’t stay too long.
5. Cool your room down without expensive air-conditioners. Open the windows to allow the air to circulate.
6. Ventilate your car. Temperatures inside a car that has been standing in the sun can be up to 10 degrees higher than on the outside. Roll down the window on one side and open and close the door on the opposite side a few times to fan the interior.
7. Know your body’s cooling points. By applying ice cubes wrapped in a towel at certain places such as the wrist, neck, elbow, or ankles you can reduce body heat quicker.
8. Watch out for granny, youngsters and pets. Older people and children are most vulnerable to the soaring temperatures. Look after them with particular care … and don’t leave children locked in the car while doing shopping or allow them to play in old unused car where they can possibly lock themselves. Don’t leave the dog in the car!
9. Remember the sun screen. When you are outdoors apply lotion with a high-level of protection against harmful ultra-violet rays. And wear a hat that can protect both your face and neck… even when you are in the shade.
10. Watch out for the signs. Be aware of the symptoms associated with dehydration and overheating – such as muscle cramps, mild confusion, difficulty in breathing,
weakness or sleep problems. Rest in a cool place, replenish your body with fluids and consult a doctor or pharmacist if the symptoms persist.