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Beat the heat

17 January 2020

Take extra precaution to stay hydrated during the exceptionally hot conditions across the Western Cape. Severe heat and not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration and heatstroke. This could be fatal!

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you take in. When you are dehydrated your body cannot function as usual. Children younger than five, the elderly, and people working outdoors are especially vulnerable to dehydration and heatstroke.

Heatstroke is an emergency. Seek medical help immediately for any of these symptoms:

  • Feeling confused or speech starts to become slow and unclear;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Rapid, shallow breathing;
  • Heart starts to race; or
  • A throbbing headache.

Take these precautions to stay hydrated and avoid heatstroke

  • During very hot days it is important to drink more water than you usually do;
  • Stay inside or in shaded areas;
  • Wear a wide rim hat or use an umbrella;
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you and drink regularly;
  • Take regular breaks from the sun if you work outside. Cool yourself down by using a spray bottle or pouring water over your head;
  • If you keep feeling thirsty even though you have been drinking water, mix 1 litre of water with eight teaspoons of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt. This is suitable for children too.

Parents or caregivers should pay extra attention to young children to make sure they are hydrated. Moms who are breastfeeding their babies should breastfeed their babies more frequently during hot temperatures. Keep children indoors or in the shade, dress them in light clothing and wipe them down with a damp cloth to help them stay cool. Remember to keep children indoors between 11:00 and 16:00 and to apply sunscreen when going outdoors.

If children younger than five have more than two watery stools, vomits over 24 hours, or are lethargic seek medical attention immediately. Also seek immediate medical care if your baby is unable to breastfeed or has sunken eyes and a sunken head (fontanelle).

If the clinic is closed or you do not have other means to transport your sick child to another health facility, please call an ambulance urgently by calling 10177 from a landline telephone or 112 from a cellphone.

- END –

Media Enquiries: 

Sandra Maritz
Communications Officer
Tel: 023 348 810
Cell: 071 589 1337
Sandra.Maritz@westerncape.gov.za