The heat is on Africa’s health

The heat is on Africa’s health

Leading message from participants in the annual People's Climate March in New York. Photo courtesy http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/

Leading message from participants in the annual People’s Climate March in New York. Photo © http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/

Heat exhaustion is likely to occur when the human body’s temperature rises above 38℃, according to a recent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

In ground-breaking research released in October 2015, experts in atmospheric science warned of the potential human health risks resulting from exposure to increased temperatures in Africa.

The research will assist in identifying geographical areas that may be hot spots for negative impacts on human health, and will aid in the development of appropriate preventative measures. 

The temperature where heat starts to have an impact on human health, the study says, is around 27℃.

From 1961 to 1990 Johannesburg had an average 34.5 days a year where temperatures were more or equal to 27 ºC. Between 2011 and 2040, the city will have an extra 35 days a year where temperatures will reach 27ºC or more, the study’s models suggest.

By the end of the century the majority of African countries will experience more than five months of the year during which temperatures will be equal to or more than 27ºC, the study found.

Heat-related physical disorders include fatigue, heat stroke and, in severe instances, can result in death.

“High temperatures affect the body’s thermoregulatory system, leading to an inability to maintain thermal balance,” said CSIR atmospheric scientist Rebecca Garland.

The full article can be found here

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