Hot weather tips to staying cool
HOT WEATHER TIPS:
Some of these may seem pretty basic, but they are tried and true…they really do work!
1. Close your drapes and blinds. Just keeping the sun from shining through the windows helps a lot. It’s like moving the inside of your house into the shade.
2. Heat stresses us, especially the very young, very old, and those in poor health. If you don’t have air conditioning, it’s important to relieve that stress. Perhaps spend some time at an air conditioned mall, or a friend / relative’s house. If nothing else, a cool shower certainly can help cool you off. Just find a way to interrupt the heat’s stress…give yourself some recovery time. Most heat-related health issues result from extended periods of heat stress.
3. Stay hydrated, and make sure that you’re hydrating with water, juice, and sports drinks. This is critical, because we sweat more when it’s hot, and this draws a lot of fluids out of our bodies. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, because they dehydrate you…the exact opposite of what you want during a heat wave.
4. Wear cotton or linen clothing, as these natural fibers absorb sweat and allow your skin to breathe. Synthetic material, like polyester and rayon, don’t breathe, and trap sweat on your skin…which makes you more uncomfortable.
5. This one may surprise you, and it comes from my colleagues at the BBC in London! You probably already know that, if you’ll be out in the hot sun, you should wear light colored clothing (preferably white). This helps reflect solar radiation, and keeps you cooler than dark colored clothing. However, if you’ll be inside, or in solid shade, dark clothing actually is better, because it absorbs heat from your body and radiates that heat out into the environment around you, especially if there’s a light breeze. Yes, indoors or in the shade, black clothing actually helps keep you cooler!
Heat stroke occurs when our internal body temperature rises to an unsafe level…above 105° (41° Celsius). If you notice somebody in the heat exhibiting the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:
Hot, dry skin (no sweating), despite the heat. The skin may also be red.
Severe headache or dizziness
Nausea and/or vomiting
General weakness or severe muscle cramps
Loss of consciousness
Rapid heartbeat and rapid, shallow breathing
After calling 911, start first aid which, in this case, is simply trying to cool the person. If possible, put them in a tub of cool water. If that’s not possible, dampen their skin and fan them, or sponge them with cool water. You can even use the cool water from a garden hose. Another very effective thing to do is putting ice packs under the armpits and in the groin area. It’s vitally important to get the person’s core body temperature down as best you can until the EMS arrives. Even just moving them into some air conditioning helps. At the very minimum, at least get them into the shade.
If you know any elderly people who live without air conditioning, or somebody with very young children, please check on them when we hit the peak of this heat wave. And don’t forget our pets…they are even more susceptible to this extreme heat than we are. Please let them stay inside in the air conditioning and, if they have to stay outside, at the very minimum, provide them with shade and a good supply of cold water to drink. But extended time outside is not the place to be for our animals.
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