South Africans should brace themselves for a heat wave which will affect most parts of the country from Friday.

Temperatures in the northern parts of the country are expected to reach highs of up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Forecaster at the South African Weather Services, Tsholofelo Mahlangu, says the heat wave is expected to last until Monday.

"We are expecting a heat wave starting from yesterday (Friday) going into this weekend up until at least Monday. So far we have Gauteng included in the heat wave and places over the North West and places over the Limpopo province and just over Ermelo and Mpumalanga escarpment," says Mahlangu.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed sources from a Limpopo medical practitioner, Dr Masango, claims that the heatwave is so severe that can can cause skin cancer if one spends anything more than one hour exposed to the sun this weekend.

With more heat waves on the horizon, the risk of heat-related health problems has also been on the rise.

Heat exhaustion is a relatively common reaction to severe heat and can include symptoms such as dizziness, headache and fainting. It can usually be treated with rest, a cool environment and hydration (including refueling of electrolytes, which are necessary for muscle and other body functions). Heat stroke is more severe and requires medical attention—it is often accompanied by dry skin, a body temperature above 40 degrees celcius, confusion and sometimes unconsciousness.

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