Department of Health warns against heat stroke

The North West Health MEC Dr Magome Masike is warning the public to take the necessary precaution and preventative measures against the ongoing heat wave.

Earlier this year the Province experienced high temperatures which lead to the death of 11 people from heat stroke and dehydration.  According to the RedCross, “in recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity”. The MEC Dr Magome Masike is continuing to urge communities and individuals to take preventative measures.

“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,” warned MEC Masike.

It is important that, during a heat wave, to never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles; 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-coloured clothing; avoid dark colours 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 and activities and take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.

“We also realise that people especially the elderly with high blood pressure and diabetics are at risk. It is important for family members to monitor this group, make sure they take their medication and stay hydrated all the time”, said MEC Masike.

Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, hallucinations, Chills, Throbbing headache, High body temperature, Confusion/dizziness And Slurred speech.

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