The weather in Texas has been more challenging than usual this year. First it rained until our drought was a distant memory and more than a few houses were flooded. Now we’re roasting in the heat. We thought you might be ready for ways to avoid the effects of overheating and some tips on staying cooler.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, high summer heat is responsible for more fatalities than all other types of weather events. One reason could be that we don’t always take hot weather as seriously as we should.
Defined as a prolonged period of excessive heat, a heat wave is dangerous business. No one is immune, and the longer the heat persists, the more likely someone in your family will start showing signs of heat-related distress. Pollutants in the air and the reflected heat from city streets and structures can make conditions even worse.
We have shortened some of the ideas for dealing with a Heat Wave from our friends at How Stuff Works – Science. Author Sara Elliott has more to say in her article, 5 Tips for Heat Wave Safety.
Dress for the Weather
In the heat, fashion takes a back seat to safety and comfort. Cover your skin with light, loose fitting clothing. When you’re outdoors wear a hot to protect your face and head. And keep your feet protected with sandals or shoes. Be friends with your sun screen, too.
Avoid Strenuous Exercise
Potentially you don’t need this advice. Strenuous activity outdoors should be last on your list of things to do. If you must work outdoors, stay hydrated. It’s best if you can arrange your schedule to work outside during the morning hours or evening when the temperature is cooler.
If you experience dizziness, confusion, fainting, excessive sweating, nausea, a rapid pulse, headache or your skin is hot but you've stopped sweating, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion or possibly even heat stroke. Stop what you're doing immediately. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Being outdoors in a heat wave means that you will be perspiring more than normal. So it makes sense to replenish the liquid in your body. Drinking four 16 ounce glasses of liquid an hour isn’t too much. Even if you aren’t thirsty, drink up. Stay clear of beverages that are high in sugars or contain alcohol. Very cold drinks can also cause stomach cramps.
The best place to be in a heat wave is indoors – preferably in an air conditioned space. If your home isn’t air conditioned, take yourself to cool public buildings like the mall, library, or theater during the hottest part of the day.
Protect Those Most at Risk
While the heat is tough on everyone, there are people who are particularly at risk. Take a moment to check on people in these circumstances:
- people living alone
- young children
- the elderly
- outdoor laborers
- the chronically ill
- those without air conditioning in their homes
Ways to Keep Cool When It's Hot
Medicine Net published a list of 15 tips for keeping cool. We have listed our favorites here.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
- Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
- Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products.
- Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces.
The Center for Disease Control has some great answers to your FAQ. Click here to see their Frequently Asked Questions About Extreme Heat. Need a checklist? Click here to get the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist.
Dean and Draper
We hope you find the information in our blog interesting and helpful. We appreciate your comments.
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