If you can’t stand the heat…well, you can’t always stay out of the kitchen. If you live in California, you know the summer heat is part of the deal. Unfortunately, that heat can end up proving fatal.
87 people in the U.S. died from excessive heat exposure in 2017.
Climate change is causing the summer sun to scorch a little more severely every year. Which means you need to take the proper steps to avoid experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Keep reading and keep safe!
1. Know the Signs
When you’re out in the summer sun, your body will start to lose water and salt by sweating it out. This could lead to heat exhaustion, with symptoms such as:
- Fatigue, weakness, or exhaustion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Pale or moist skin
- Muscle cramps
- Headache, dizziness, or fainting
As heat exhaustion worsens, it could turn into heatstroke. The symptoms include:
- Flushed, dry, or hot skin
- Rapid breathing
- Headache, dizziness, confusion
- Irrational behavior
- A body temperature above 103 degrees
- Convulsions or unresponsiveness
If someone is experiencing heatstroke, you might also notice they’re no longer sweating.
Knowing these signs could help you save a life. If someone is experiencing heatstroke, contact 911 immediately.
You should also move the victim into a shaded area and try to cool them down. Children under the age of 4, people with medical conditions, and adults over 65 are most at risk.
2. Stay Hydrated
If the forecast indicates a hot day ahead, grab your water bottle before heading out. Try to keep it full of cold water throughout the day.
Remember, you’re going to sweat. That means your body will lose water throughout the day. Plan on drinking more water than usual in order to stay hydrated.
You don’t have to wait until you feel thirsty to drink.
You should also avoid alcohol or sugary beverages such as soda or energy drinks. That goes for coffee, fruit juice, and sports beverages too. These drinks can contribute to dehydration.
If you’re spending the day with friends or family, remind one another to drink up! Staying hydrated can help you avoid heatstroke and keep you cool throughout the day.
3. Dress for Success
In order to stay cool in the summer heat, choose your outfit wisely.
Try to choose lightweight and light-colored clothing. Dark fabrics will attract sunlight and warm you up.
If you’re leaving a lot of skin victim to the sunshine, don’t forget that sunscreen! You should also grab a hat and shades to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
4. Stay in the Shade
When you can, spend as much time as possible either under shade or inside. Turn on your fans, switch the AC on, and give your body temperature a chance to lower. Don’t forget to close the blinds and shut your doors and windows to get that cool air circulating.
If your air conditioner isn’t working, you need to get it fixed now. An AC replacement company can help make sure your unit is working to its full efficiency.
Do not leave children or your pets in the car. Car seats and dark dashboards only attract heat. The warm air inside your car could start to heat up in a matter of minutes.
5. Avoid the Oven
Using your oven will just add extra heat throughout your home.
There are plenty of oven-free recipes you can try. If you’re in the mood, consider making cold soups. Otherwise, try using electrical appliances like a rice cooker or crockpot instead of the oven.
You can also try making an evaporative cooler for your drinks.
6. Take a Break
If you’re traveling or plan on working outside all day, make sure to schedule in some breaks. Take the time to drink some cold water, brush the sweat of your brow, and catch your breath.
Make sure to step into the shade or an air-conditioned room while you’re at it.
These breaks are also a great time to reapply the sunscreen you may have sweated off in the California heat.
7. Prep a Kit
Your emergency disaster kit should include:
- A first aid kit
- A battery-powered radio
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Non-perishable snacks
- A gallon of water per person (per day)
Have this supply kit ready in case of a heatwave.
8. Eat Right
Hot foods and heavy meals will only add heat to your body. Instead of hot meals, try keeping it cool with salads and sandwiches instead. Certain foods such as cucumbers and watermelon are full of water, making them perfect for the summertime.
High-protein meals can also increase your body’s metabolic heat. Choose smaller portions of these instead.
If you feel like a treat, grab a popsicle or some ice cream to help you cool down.
9. Check the Time
Try to avoid physical activity during the hottest parts of the day. That includes any yard work you need to get done, too.
Instead, schedule outdoor activities before and after the sun is up.
If you’re an avid jogger, schedule your daily run before sunrise or after sunset. That way, you can get your exercise in while avoiding the summer heat. Don’t forget to take your water bottle with you.
Otherwise, stay indoors and in the air-conditioning.
Also, make sure that you stay informed. You can check for weather advisories here to stay up-to-date with excessive heat warnings.
10. Shower Off
After stepping into the California heat, take a cool shower to lower your body temperature. You can also use wet towels or soak your body in cold water to keep cool.
Now You Know How to Deal with the Summer Heat
You can’t avoid the summer sun, but you can prepare for it. Grab your water bottle, your shades, and keep it cool. With these 10 tips, you can prepare for the summer heat and avoid heatstroke.
Check out the Health section of the blog for more essential guides, and be sure to share this article with your friends and family!