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24 October 2011

WARNING: Heat Related Emergencies

This morning several news and weather broadcasts warned people of a heat wave over the northern regions of South Africa. It is said that some areas may even reach as high as 40 degrees Celsius.

Important facts to consider are how to prevent heat exhaustion and how to deal with heat related emergencies. It is especially during extreme heat conditions that paramedics are called out to various incidents relating to excessive heat or exhaustion.

ER24 would like to remind the public of the following:

Stay well hydrated and stay out of the direct sun during midday.
Ensure that you wear appropriate clothing and sun cream when outside.
Should you partake in outdoor activities, make sure that you have adequate resting sessions and keep hydrated at all times.
Do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
Ensure that there is appropriate adult supervision when children are swimming.
Babies and the elderly are more likely to suffer from heatstroke due to inadequate thermal regulation systems. Ensure that they are monitored closely during this time.
It is also important that you do not leave your children or animals in a vehicle even with the windows open.

It is often that people focus their attention on other humans but we should also keep our pets in mind. Ensure that they have a cool place to rest and enough clean water.

During severe heat stroke or exhaustion you may notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

Severe headache
Weakness or disorientation
Nausea or vomiting
Muscle cramps
Severe thirst

It is important that a person presenting with these signs and symptoms be closely monitored as it could result in the patient losing consciousness or having seizures which could result in death.

Persisting signs and symptoms of any of the above may need immediate medical attention. Rather seek help immediately. You can contact ER24’s National Emergency Contact Centre on 084 124 should you require emergency medical assistance or advice.

- ER24