Kenya Meteorological Department Director Dr David Gikungu issued an advisory early in February 2023 explaining the latest Nairobi heat wave. He explained the extra heat caused the night heat waves during the day.
The ground and concrete buildings absorb the heat and retain it. This makes it difficult for heat to escape until the cooler night air inducts the heat. “Longwave radiation is experienced during the night and it may still be lingering deep into the night and that is why the temperature is high,” he explained.
As a result, people experience heat waves during the day and at night. Kenya has been experiencing high temperatures for the past few weeks. The situation is especially dire in north-eastern Kenya and the rest of the Horn of Africa. Students at Brown University found that the Indian Ocean is contributing to the lack of rainfall the region is currently experiencing. The warmer waters towards Asia are causing more significant rainfall in Indonesia. The cooler waters along the African coast lead to drier weather in East Africa.
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Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Rebecca Miano, stated how the climate crisis worsens the weather situation in the region. The country is also at risk of drought. There has also been an increased uptake in water consumption and heat-related health crises. There may be a reprieve from the Nairobi heat wave, as the Kenya Met stated that rainfall is expected in the second half of March or early April.
How to cope with the heat wave
Nairobi has been experiencing highs of up to 31℃. The main risks of a heat wave include the following:
- Dehydration: This is when you lose more water than you’re taking. In a heat wave, fluid is lost through sweat and not drinking enough water.
- Heat exhaustion: This is when you experience heavy sweating, paleness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramps.
- Overheating: This is caused by prolonged exposure and physical exertion in high temperatures. If you find yourself feeling dizzy, nauseous, having red hot skin with no sweat, or confused, find a way to cool down immediately. Stand in the shade and drink cool water.
- Heat stroke is the most severe illness that could result from exposure to heat. Heat stroke is when the body can no longer control its internal temperature. Sweating fails, and your body temperature can rise to 40℃.
When recognizing the signs of heat illness, find a place to cool down. Public spaces like libraries have places to sit and cool down before you go back outside.
Avoid using fans because they don’t help cool your skin. They only circulate the air and interfere with your body’s ability to sweat.
Ensure you cover your windows with shades. If you can, apply reflectors on them. You should also avoid staying in a closed car in the heat.
Take cool showers to avoid overheating. The Health Benefits Of Taking A Cold Shower
Wear loose-fitting, bright-coloured clothing to avoid absorbing heat.
Wear a hat, cap, or visor to protect your head from the heat.
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Keep drinking cool water to avoid dehydration. This also keeps your skin supple and reduces the risk of wrinkling. Apply sunscreen to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
Try to avoid high-energy activities in the midday sun. If you can’t avoid it, wear light clothing, ensure your head is covered from the sun, and apply sunscreen. Drink plenty of fluids too.
The heat also brings with it a lot of static electricity. How Can I Stop Getting Static Shocks? How To Get Rid Of Static In Your Home Or Office
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