Health experts are issuing warnings about the life-threatening consequences of the recent extreme temperatures across the country. The ongoing dry spell, attributed to El Nino conditions, is causing concern among farmers and the general public, heightening fears of drought. Environmental experts connect these adverse weather patterns to climate change induced by greenhouse gases.
Bulawayo City Council’s health services director, Dr. Edwin Sibanda-Mzingwane, stressed the importance of staying hydrated to prevent dehydration-related illnesses. He advised the public to avoid direct sunlight exposure, as it can increase dehydration levels. Dr. Sibanda-Mzingwane suggested monitoring hydration by observing the color of urine, with darker and more concentrated urine indicating higher dehydration levels.
Dr. Misheck Ruwende, another medical expert, outlined the range of health effects due to the heat, from mild issues like headaches to severe conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. He emphasized the need to drink water and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, which contribute to dehydration.
Motorists were cautioned against leaving vulnerable individuals and pets in closed cars, as the heat can be fatal. Dr. Ruwende highlighted the increased risk for certain groups, such as the elderly, asthmatics, and those with heart diseases, urging them to minimize exposure to heat.
Outdoor activities were recommended during cooler times, such as mornings and evenings. Additionally, the public was encouraged to include hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, and lettuce in their diets.
Reports of villagers collapsing and dying in Matobo and Binga districts due to the heatwave were dismissed as fake. The Meteorological Service Department attributed the heatwave to clear skies, indicating a transition from less rain to improved rainfall patterns.
In conclusion, the public is advised to take precautions against the extreme temperatures, stay hydrated, and adapt their daily routines to minimize the risks associated with the ongoing heatwave.