When sweat runs down your face almost effortlessly when you are just chilling at your balcony doing absolutely nothing, you’ll know: it’s summer. Summer is fun. This is the perfect time when you and your kids can enjoy some outdoor activities after months of cold weather. But what if the summer vibe you have been looking forward to turns out to be a season of heatwaves that can potentially endanger you and your family’s health instead?
The world is heating up like never before. Heatwaves are a hazardous phenomenon that not only ruins the world as it is but often claims the lives of thousands of people and animals across the globe. NASA reports that in early September 2020, “an intense heatwave broke temperature records in several locations in Southern California.” Studies show that the said area has increased heatwave frequency, duration, and intensity over recent decades.
Although less dramatic than other natural catastrophes, heatwaves are nonetheless as dangerous as them. With heat waves becoming an environmental trend, there is nothing that we can really do to avoid it, but we can always avert its effects to survive. So, when heatwaves do occur, what can we do to keep everything cool?
You can never go wrong with enough water in your system to hydrate your body and compensate for that loss of fluid caused by the extreme weather. Unless, of course, you have a medical condition directly affected by how much fluid you take, having a water bottle by your side can be essential.
Help the air circulate
Most homes, whose cooler climates are a norm, lack air conditioning. Using ceiling fans and box fans can ease your struggle. On a hot day, you can open the doors and windows and turn on the fans to push out the hot air that is trapped inside your home. After all the hot air has escaped, close them and use blinds and curtains to block incoming hot air and to keep the cold air inside from escaping.
Slow it down
Avoiding strenuous work is a must during heatwaves. There is no point in getting that job done if doing so risks your life. Take it easy and choose some lighter tasks to work on while waiting for the extreme weather to pass.
Hold it with the fat and meat
During heatwaves, avoid eating high-protein foods and meat as these can cause our body to produce heat more than it should. It is important that we stay cool inside-out to avert the risks that heatwaves present.
Dress for the weather
Now is certainly not the right time to flex your cardigans and sweaters. Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing to minimize the heat that you feel. Light-colored shirts can deflect heat and disperse it, in contrast with dark-colored ones, which actually absorb and trap heat.
Cool it with ice and water
When you feel like you can’t take too much of this hot weather anymore, you can find comfort from a bucket of cold water and ice. You can soak your feet in a basin or bucket full of ice to lessen the heat. You can also use wet towels to cool your forehead, nape, and shoulders. When you are properly rested, you can enjoy a cold bath and showers.
Staying outdoors when the day is at the hottest is a no-no. Stay in the comforts of your home and keep your body cool during heatwaves. Your health comes first than whatever it is your need to do outside.
Visit places with air-conditioning
Going to the libraries, malls, and buildings with air-conditioning can also be a good thing to do during heatwaves. Especially if your home doesn’t have one, air-conditioning in these places can actually help you forget that there’s a heatwave. You can also make use of the time to bond with your family and enjoy the time outdoors.
Avoid alcoholic drinks
Drinking alcoholic in itself is a bad habit, and doing this during extremely hot weather can be the worst decision you can ever make. These drinks act as diuretics that increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body in the form of urine, therefore dehydrating the body. Also, hangovers and hot weathers are a perfect combo for giving yourself a splitting headache.
When heatwaves attack, you can be creative with your DIY, homemade air-conditioning to combat its adverse effects. Using only water bottles, ice cubes, and a fan, you can have that cool air soothing your heated body. DIY tutorials are available on the internet, and you might want to take time and follow those very easy steps.
Be extra careful in cars
Do not ever leave your kids, elderlies, or pets inside the car, especially when buying groceries for the family. Cars are made of metal and therefore can be easily heated. When this happens, it can exhaust and suffocate those inside the car, leading to severe damage in the brain if not death.
Take care of your skin
Heatwaves can be very dangerous to your skin as well. A short time spent outdoors during heatwaves can easily give your face and nape sunburns. To avoid this, wear sunscreen for that extra protection and keep your skin hydrated using cold water sprays to keep it fresh throughout the day.
Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that is caused by heatwaves. This can cause serious brain damage and injuries to other internal organs. If taken for granted, heat strokes can cause the immediate death of a loved one. When the body reaches a temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit and then fainted, there is a good chance that the person is already experiencing a heat stroke. When this happens, you must call 911 for help as the longer the patient is left unattended, the lesser the chances of his/her survival. Other symptoms include intense headache, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, redness of the skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rapid, shallow breathing, confusion, disorientation, or staggering, and seizures.
Mind your pets
Take note that what happens to you happens to your pets as well. During heatwaves, secure your pets and make sure that they are given the same hydration and cooling too. Let them stay indoors and watch out for strange behaviors that they may exhibit – they too can be experiencing heat strokes for all you know. Behaviors that tell you if your pet is on the verge of having a heat stroke include rapid panting, wide eyes, unusual drooling, hot skin, trembling muscles, vomiting, and a look of confusion. If this happens, call the vet immediately.