Health experts give warning on prevailing high temperatures

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HEALTH experts have warned that some people may suffer heat-stroke caused by high temperatures being experienced in the country, if they do not take precautions.

The experts said the extreme temperatures, which are normal during summer, can cause tyre bursts that can lead to serious traffic accidents.

They said members of the public should drink plenty of water, stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcohol, energy drinks, carbonated drinks with sugar and drinks with caffeine.

They should consider eating light meals and avoid having large quantities of meals in one sitting.

Zimbabwe for the past few days has been experiencing high temperatures, with some cities even ranking above 30 degrees Celsius.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) head of forecasting Mr James Ngoma said: “The rise in the temperatures is normal, since we are coming out of the winter season getting into summer. That is the reason why the change in temperatures is being felt.”

He advised people to wear sunscreen and keep hydrated during this time.

“People should not be outdoors for long. From 10am to 3pm they should not be exposed to direct sunlight,” said Mr Ngoma.

According to the MSD, the highest temperature today will be in Gwanda at 39 degrees Celsius followed by Bulawayo at 37 degrees Celsius.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said heat waves are mostly associated with heat-stroke.

“The heat waves can worsen chronic health conditions such as heart conditions especially in vulnerable groups such as the elderly,” he said.

Prof Ngwenya urged the general public to stay indoors and keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

Elderly people, Prof Ngwenya said, are the worst affected by the rise in temperatures so they should be well looked after.

“Motorists should avoid unnecessary travelling as extreme heat waves can cause burst tyres causing road traffic accidents that could land people in hospitals and worse even take their lives,” he said.

In November 2015, temperatures in Matabeleland provinces broke records set 60 years ago. In Matabeleland North, Tsholotsho recorded 40 degrees Celsius to break the 1993 record of 39,3 degrees Celsius.

Other records tumbled in Bulawayo. Bulawayo’s Joshua Nkomo International Airport recorded 38 degrees Celsius breaking the 37,7 degrees Celsius registered in 1990. Bulawayo Goetz Observatory station also registered 38 degrees, breaking a 37,4 degrees Celsius record for 1990.

In Matabeleland South, Beitbridge recorded 44 degrees Celsius, just below the 44,4 degrees Celsius last recorded in 1941 and 1997.

West Nicholson recorded 42,4 degrees Celsius in 1955, but the record was broken over the weekend when the area registered 42,5 degrees Celsius.

The MSD revealed that temperatures recorded at the time averaged between 33 and 43 degrees Celsius nationwide, while the highest temperatures documented in the past 60 years ranged between 35 and 41 degrees Celsius.

–Chronicle

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