According to scientists, the increase in average temperatures is likely to have a major impact on human health in ways that will reduce productivity and mental well-being significantly. There is an increased risk of dehydration and overheating in extreme hot weather. Exposure to heat and direct sunlight can make symptoms of mental ill health much worse, and can further impair mood and energy levels.
Mariska van Aswegen, spokesperson of Pharma Dynamics, says that the average temperatures in Southern Africa have risen by 1.5°C over the past century, which poses a more immediate threat for South Africa.
“As South Africa begins to experience longer and more intense heat waves, so too the degree to which individuals suffer from heat stress will increase and further compromise mental well-being,” says Mariska.
Mariska says these are the things you can do to keep cool when the mercury is rising:
– Stay out direct sunlight, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition or experience any side effects from medication
– Shut windows and pull down the shades when it’s hotter outside and then open them when it’s cooler
– Keep a spray bottle in the fridge to cool your face and body with water or take a cool bath
– Ensure you have adequate supplies of medication if extreme hot weather persists
– Stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm
– Take a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated, and eat small but regular meals when you are outdoors.
– Wear light and cool clothing.