This year’s summer has been particularly terrible and has even resulted in deaths in some countries. Heat Waves are often misunderstood events, and many people believe them to be a time when you can get the BBQ out and enjoy the outdoors; however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Aside from destroying crops and increasing the chance of wildfire, heat waves can be harmful to your health. Although they tend to affect the young and elderly more often, nobody is immune from the deleterious effects of the sun. To cope with a heatwave, you must take action.

Despite that, many people are unaware of what they need to do, so the purpose of this post is to help you to understand what you need to do.

How Do You Classify A Heat Wave?

A heatwave is classed as an unusually hot period spread out over at least two days when the temperature is way above what the average norm is for that time of year. These weather extremes are typically due to trapped air in the atmosphere causing high pressure to force the air downwards and deny ground heat from dissipating into the upper atmosphere. As a result, the temperature rises and further compounds the effect until the high-pressure system passes.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

The good news is that there are several things you can do to avoid becoming ill during the heatwave. These range from common sense methods to creating physical structures that block out the sun’s rays.

Block Out The Sun

If you don’t want to get trapped inside your home and want to enjoy the outdoors, one option is to build an awning onto the side of your house. You can put these in the front or the back, depending on where you spend most of your time. Those who are not comfortable making a permanent commitment or are worried that extreme snowfall might damage it when winter hits can opt for a retractable version. These retractable awnings offer protection from most weather conditions and especially the sun. You can retract it out as the sun rises, which will not only allow you to sit outside if you wish but will also block most of the heat from hitting your walls and windows. This can cause the temperature to rise inside your home. There are different toys to choose from, but retractable ones offer the most flexibility.

Recognize The Symptoms Of Heat Stroke

Heatstroke can strike anyone from the infirm to healthy and can be extremely dangerous if left. Among heat-related illnesses, heatstroke is the most serious. This condition develops when the body cannot control its temperature: it is hotter than usual, sweating cannot occur, and the body cannot cool down. Within 10 to 15 minutes, your body temperature can reach 106°F or higher. In the absence of emergency treatment, heatstroke may be fatal or permanently disabling. Therefore, you should know the signs and what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing it:

  • Temperatures exceeding 103 °F (39 °C).
  • Skin that’s hot, dry, and red but does not sweat.
  • A heartbeat that is rapid and strong.
  • Headache.
  • The feeling of dizziness.
  • Feeling nauseated.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.

You should contact the emergency services right away if you or someone else experience any of these symptoms. However, before they arrive, you can take steps to cool them down. This can involve placing them inside a bathtub full of cold water (don’t use ice cubes or make it too cold). You can also set a cool, wet towel on their forehead and blow a fan towards them. You must attempt to do whatever it takes to cool them down until paramedics arrive.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is as simple as drinking eight glasses of water a day, but this takes on a renewed sense of urgency during a heatwave. Keeping your body supplied with water allows it to function efficiently. You should drink more if you sweat a lot. Nevertheless, you must ensure that your body is also intaking enough electrolytes to make up for those lost during sweating.

Heatwaves are one of the few times that eating salty snacks might be beneficial for you. The sodium they contain could replace that which is lost. However, don’t go overboard and eat only salty food; you must maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Whatever you do, try to stay away from sports drinks because they are full of sugar and alcohol as it only dehydrates you further. Some of the best things to drink are:

  • Water.
  • Coconut water.
  • Fruit smoothies.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Milk.

The critical point is not to force yourself to drink until you are sick but to be conscious of it and drink at frequent intervals.

Stay Indoors If Possible (Remain Under Shade)

Most people will be safe to venture outside as long as it is under shade, but you should attempt to stay indoors for the best chance of getting through a heatwave. Although you will need to go outside for shopping and work, remain shaded at all times. One interesting idea is to use an umbrella. Anyone who has ever visited tropical countries will often see people using umbrellas to protect themselves in front of the scorching sun. These devices aren’t only for rain and if you must venture outside, grab your umbrella before you go and see how different it can make.

Check On Your Family And Friends

Heatwaves can come on rapidly, and often there is no time to sort yourself out, let alone your loved ones. However, once you have ensured your immediate family is safe, you must remember to check up on those more vulnerable to the effects of heat. This is usually the elderly, and if you do have older neighbors, it is a good idea to check on them to ensure they are ok. Additionally, you can call up your parents for the same reason. If the heatwave is exceptionally bad, you could consider moving your relatives into your home until it passes. This ensures that you have everyone under one roof, which makes it far easier to manage.

Heatwaves don’t have to be too scary or dangerous, and with the proper precautions, you should get through them just fine. Nevertheless, ensure that you and your family stay hydrated and understand the signs of heatstroke. Furthermore, make sure that the older members of your community are doping ok and see if they need help.


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