Hot enough for ya? Heat waves aren’t particularly surprising during summer but when popsicles melt before the first lick, you know it’s hot! Scientists have forecasted that this would be the hottest year in history, and South Africans are experiencing it first-hand!

No one can resist commenting on the heat on social media as the mercury tops the 40 degree mark in some parts of the country. According to the South African Weather Service, extreme hot weather conditions are expected over the festive period with little chance of rain to cool the air. A heat wave warning has been issued for parts of Gauteng which will result in extremely uncomfortable conditions. This also comes at a time that parts of South Africa are facing water-crises with “water-shedding” becoming the latest addition to the South African vernacular!

With ESKOM doing some critical maintenance during December, and electricity still in short supply, air conditioners may not be the wisest choice.

Here are a few tips to keep your cool during the heatwaves over the holidays:

• Spray away the heat. Keep small spray bottles filled with water in the fridge. A fine mist on your pulse points (inner elbows, behind the ears and knees) will cool the blood down.
• DIY aircon. Sit in the path of a floor fan aimed at a pan filed with ice.
• Close the curtains. While the sun is out, close the curtains and blinds. If the air is hotter outside than inside, keep the windows closed.
• Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
• Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Fill buckets with cold water and soak your feet. Wet towels or bandannas have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head.
• Continuously rehydrate; keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Keep a close eye on children, babies and the elderly; ensure that they stay well hydrated.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, as both of these substances can act as diuretics and promote dehydration.
• Head downstairs. Since hot air rises, the upper stories of a home will be warmer than the ground floor.
• Flick a switch. Lights and appliances in your house, when on, can actually raise the temperature indoors.
• Avoid large protein-rich meals that can increase metabolic heat and warm the body.
• Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.
• Sleep with an ice block! It works! Take an ice-pack wrapped in a hand towel with you to bed, basically the opposite of a hot water bottle.
• Ice cold pillows. Chill your pillow-cases by placing them in plastic bags and sticking them in the freezer for a few minutes for cool dreams.
• Wear loose fitting clothes in light colours. Dark colours absorb more heat.
• Paint your roof. If the heat is really getting to you, consider painting your roof white. A lighter colour will reflect the sun and help keep the entire building cool.
• Get physical. An early morning swim is both calming and soothing. Yoga as well as meditation can help to reduce body heat. Avoid rigorous activities such as biking, hiking or jogging - go for it after the temperature has dropped.
• Don’t forget Fido! Ensure that pets have a cool place to relax, and cool clean water to drink.

Heatwaves can pose significant health risks. Knowing how to keep cool can save lives. Take care of yourself and others.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.