With temperatures rising and beaches filling up, ER24 has compiled a list of common summer health risks and how we can prevent them, ensuring the safety of our loved ones, our friends and ourselves.

Locals will travel to various destinations over the holiday period, often to coastal areas, and take part in sports and physical activities under the beating hot sun.

ER communications officer Russel Meiring says Cape Town’s emergency services are very busy during the festive season, not just because there is an increase in motor vehicle accidents but also because there are more emergencies related to summer activities and the effects of hot weather.

ER24 has revealed a list of incidents they are often called to attend to during the Christmas and New Year period.

Biggest summer health risks 

1. Drowning

Meiring reminds parents to supervise their children when their little ones are swimming or taking part in water sports.

Water sports are a lot of fun, “but if you or your children are not experienced in performing them safely and correctly, they can lead to accidents. It is essential that you ensure there is adequate supervision,” says Meiring.

2. Heat-related illnesses 

There are four identified heat-related illnesses:

– Heat cramps (mild)

-Heat cramps (intermediate)

-Heat exhaustion (intermediate)

-Heat stroke, otherwise known as sun stroke (severe)

Meiring cautions the public to immediately seek treatment for heat-related illnesses, also called heat-related injuries.

“Heat stroke is very common. If left untreated, heat-related injuries can be serious and even lead to death,” he said.

It is important to be aware of the signs of dehydration as one can prevent heat-related injuries by thorough rehydration.

Dehydration signs in children: 

– Dry mouth and tongue

– No tears when crying

– Dryer nappies (in toddlers and babies)

– Sunken eyes and cheeks

– A sunken soft spot on the skull (babies)

– Irritable demeanor

Dehydration signs in adults: 

– Extreme thirst

– Less frequent urination

– Dark coloured urine

– Fatigue

– Dizziness

– Confusion

There are different levels of dehydration and the more severe it is the more likely it visible signs will indicate the condition clearly.

3. Burns

4. Breathing difficulties

5. Bites and stings


For any medical emergency contact ER25 on 084 124.

Picture: Pexels


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