The heatwave is here, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. With the scorching sun beating down on you, all you want to do is stay inside in air conditioning. But there are so many things that people need to do outside of their homes during a heatwave, like work or grocery shopping.
So how can we survive without getting too hot? Here are 11 Ways To Survive A Heat Wave: Practical Tips To Stay Safe!
What causes heatwave
A heatwave occurs when the temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least three days. When daytime highs remain consistently high, a heatwave is more likely to start.
Some of the most notorious causes of heatwaves are:
- The extreme change in atmospheric pressure (i.e., as measured by barometric readings).
- The reflection of sunlight from dust and water vapor particles in the atmosphere.
- A prolonged period without rain or snow cover on land surfaces
- High levels of humidity trap heat near ground level instead of allowing it to dissipate into the air.
A heatwave can use health-related issues to be a significant concern and cause health-related issues. Heat can also lead to dehydration which can cause heat exhaustion or even death.
What does a heatwave do?
Excessive heat can cause cramps and swelling, sometimes leading to fainting. Heatwave kills most Americans compared to any natural disaster. The human body's natural cooling system is not designed to keep up with extreme external temperatures, and prolonged exposure can be fatal. A person on a 110-degree day without air conditioning for the first six hours might have two or three times as much fluid in their blood vessels as they would under normal conditions, putting them at risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke. Heart-related illness and heat exhaustion are more often affecting young kids and the elderly whenever a heatwave occurs.
Heatwaves are increasing worldwide due to climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, particularly fossil fuel consumption.
What are the characteristics of a heatwave?
There is not a formal, standardized definition of what constitutes a heatwave.
However, the characteristics of a heatwave may include:
- Temperature above average for an area or period.
- High humidity; and environmental triggers such as heavy outdoor work in hot weather.
1. Stay hydrated
In a heatwave, you are advised to take a lot of liquid and avoid caffeine to keep hydrated; heat makes the body sweat, a significant cause of dehydration. When it's hot outside, staying hydrated is crucial for keeping the body cool and healthy. The human body has to sweat to maintain a healthy temperature. Still, when dehydration sets in from too much sweating without enough water intake, a person risks heat-related illness and other health problems.
When dehydration occurs due to excessive activity or inadequate fluid intake out of necessity, the thirst mechanism becomes blunted; therefore, people can't feel they need more fluids until they are dehydrated and lightheaded.
2. Use the air conditioning at home as much as possible to stay cool
The goal is to stay calm and be in control of the body temperature when a heatwave happens. Sleep with an open window if possible, or use the air conditioner at home as much as you can. Open windows allow nighttime wind currents to circulate air through your house and cool it down. If there's no air coming into your room because of lack of a window, put towels soaked with ice water under the door and turn on ceiling fans inside the room to create circulation without using up too much electricity (or sweat).
Remember that sleeping during warmer nights will be more difficult than usual - keep yourself covered with sheets when needed! Use cold compresses.
3. Dress in lightweight clothes and wear light colors
Dress in light colors rather than dark ones, which will absorb heat and make you hotter. Wear a hat to protect your head from the sun's rays. Dress in lighter fabrics such as 100% Cotton, Linen, etc., and this makes them airy, making sure they don't stick on your skin while keeping you cooler! It also means less sweating since these materials wick away moisture instead of absorbing it and trapping sweat against it.
4. Protect yourself from UV radiation by wearing sunscreen
There are reasons why you need to protect yourself from UV radiation during a heatwave; UV rays can cause skin and eyes burns, which in return can cause permanent blindness.Sunscreens help in reducing wrinkles that form on your face due to UV exposure caused by heatwaves. Ensure your neck is covered by either a hat or a scarf, protect your ears, scalp, nose, and mouth.
5. Try not to spend more time outdoors
According to research published in Environmental Health Prespect, try not to spend more time outdoors than necessary because being out too long increases your risk for skin cancer and other harmful effects on health. Even if you have oily skin, your pores need to be open so they can breathe in all those good nutrients while filtering out toxins too!
6. Eat light
The food you eat during a heatwave must be light and easy to digest. Eat less and avoid heavy meals, greasy food, sugary drinks, or Alcohol that would make the body retain more heat than usual. Do not eat anything too sour like citrus fruits because they increase thirst, leading you to drink salty water from your sweat glands, which could cause dehydration if consumed regularly in large quantities. Drink plenty of fluids before going out during a hot spell; take care to stay hydrated when it is humid outside and inside due to sweat.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Not all liquids behave the same way in hot weather. Alcohol has different effects than water, diluting the body's ability to regulate its temperature and causing fluids to be sweated out rather than reabsorbed. Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration, which can cause vomiting or diarrhea due to having too much fluid in your stomach while your kidneys stop working correctly because ethanol blocks a hormone that helps them work properly.
Try as much as possible to avoid alcohol consumption during a heatwave, as it can be dangerously dehydrating. Avoiding Alcohol may also help you sleep better, as it is a stimulant that disrupts your natural body rhythm and makes falling asleep more difficult. Your body needs non-toxic fluids to help it stay normal at any cost during a heatwave occurrence, so it's best to avoid Alcohol.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol during this period to ensure normal functioning of the systems in your body while avoiding dehydration which can be dangerous for those with underlying health conditions.
8. Avoid caffeinated beverages and sugary sodas
During a heatwave, it is best to avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks. Caffeine irritates the bladder, which can cause urinary frequency and a diuretic effect in people sensitive to caffeine. Instead, you can choose to drink caffeine-free drinks, which in hot weather may also help your body to control its temperature by promoting hydration.
Though it may seem like a good idea to drink caffeinated or sugary drinks when you're out and about during the summer, these liquid items are not hydrating your body in the way that water can.
9. Replace Electrolytes
The body is composed of mostly water. Electrolytes are also found in the human body but on a significantly lower concentration, with the average person's electrolyte levels at about 10% to 50%. With so tiny, it can be hard to replace them after you've sweated or vomited (both of which affect your health and well-being for as long as one week). It can be tough to maintain electrolyte balance in hot weather. The sun is intense, so you may sweat a lot and lose water; the longer the heatwave lasts, the more likely it becomes that your body will get dehydrated.
Replace lost electrolytes by drinking sports drinks like Pedialyte or Powerade. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes. These electrolytes are needed for many body functions, so replacing them during a hard workout is essential. When your body is working hard for an extended period, like during sports or heavy exercise, it may need more than just water to stay hydrated. Electrolyte-replacement drinks help the body's cellular metabolism and should be consumed after strenuous exercise. Not all sports drinks are created equally. Double-check the nutritional information to make sure that your product isn't loaded with sugar.
10. Know the Signs of Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion
Protect yourself and your family by knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Their symptoms are similar and should always be taken seriously. Watch for dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of consciousness, and a fast or weakening pulse. With heat exhaustion, the skin is cold and pale and feels clammy.
Once heatstroke kicks in, body temperatures rise to 103 degrees or higher, and the skin becomes hot, red, dry, or damp because it stops sweating. Signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion are similar and need to be checked rigorously. Seeking medical attention right if any suspect symptoms start arising is the best way to avoid a severe condition. Heat exhaustion typically looks more like fainting than a dramatic heatstroke. Heatstroke is confirmed if the body's temperature surpasses 103 degrees Fahrenheit, skin becomes hot and red as sweat loss occurs.
12. Take a Cool Bath or Shower
During extreme heat, it is difficult for the body to battle the heat. If you have no air conditioning and your room fan doesn't do much, take a cool shower or bath. One way to cool down is by taking a cool shower or bath. You can also stand in an ice water bath for 10 minutes, bringing your body temperature down significantly.
Conclusion on how to survive a heatwave
If you are one of the many people experiencing a heatwave this summer, it's essential to stay informed on how to prepare for these extreme conditions. One way is by putting together an emergency preparedness plan and stocking up on items that can help in any disaster situation like food, water, batteries, medication, or first-aid supplies.
Another thing to consider is your home's energy efficiency, too - air conditioning units consume lots of power, so try running them during the day when no one is home and then turn them off at night before bedtime.
Last but not least (that was intentional), make sure you're staying hydrated with enough fluids throughout the day.