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11 November 2011

Heatwave warning for parts of South Africa (11 November - 13 November 2011)


A heatwave alert has been issued by the SA Weather Service amid warnings of extreme temperatures over the next few days.

There is a risk of a heatwave from today till Sunday with daytime highs reaching over 40 Deg/C in areas. It will remain warm at night in many areas.

All indications are that this summer might be warmer than the past couple of years.
With climate change, heatwaves are likely to become more common over the next few decades and the public should take note of this.

Heatwave guidance

Consecutive hot days could be dangerous for people with heart and respiratory problems and in extreme cases, excess heat can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Ozone can be a big problem for those with breathing problems but although levels can be high during the day in a heatwave, they drop at night so staying indoors in the middle of the day can help. Keeping the home as cool as possible during hot weather and remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential.

The elderly and those who are ill, are particularly vulnerable during hot weather and the most oppressive conditions occur in our towns and cities.Windows should be kept shaded and closed when the temperature is hotter outside than inside.

Heat exhaustion can cause muscle cramps, low blood pressure, rapid pulse and nausea. It can be treated at home, by drinking water, getting into an air-conditioned room or sitting in front of a fan and misting the body with cool water. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

It is very important that older people look after themselves in the warm weather.

Older people, especially those on medication, can often find coping with the heat particularly difficult.

To avoid the effects of the heat wave it is very important to avoid any unnecessary exposure to the sun during the hottest periods of the day, between 11am and 4pm.