Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heat Wave: 5 Ways to Beat the Heat

We are officially in the middle of a heat wave. Temps have been up to the low 90s and even higher temperatures are predicted for all of next week. That may be normal if you live in Texas or Arizona but here that is practically an emergency because people simply aren't used to such hot weather. Here's five simple ways to beat the heat if you find yourself in a similar situation:
  1. Keep cool. In our temperate climate, people can pretty much exercise, work in the yard, and play sports outside no matter what time of day it is. When the weather is hot however, you need to keep cool during the heat of the day. Exercise or work in the yard early in the morning or later in the evening when the weather is cooler. Never stay in a car or other confined space unless the AC is on or the windows are down because it only takes minutes in high heat for such a space to become oven-like. Keep your home cool or seek refuge somewhere that has air conditioning such as a library, mall, or office building.
  2. Keep hydrated. During hot weather or when you are working up a sweat with work or exercise, be sure to drink a lot more than you usually would. Your body needs water to replace the liquid lost to sweat and to keep all of your internal organs cool and well hydrated. This goes for children, pets, and livestock as well.
  3. Keep an eye on others. While you may handle hot weather just fine, the sick and elderly often have a difficult time moderating their body temperature during extremes in weather. If you have elderly relatives of friends, be sure to check on them during really hot weather to ensure that they are handling the weather well. A cool home, appropriate clothing, and staying well hydrated is imperative for those who are old or infirm because their body may not tell them that they are too hot making them much more likely to suffer from heat stroke and other complications. Many cities have "cooling stations" set up for those whose homes are too hot to comfortably stay in. If you notice that an an elderly or infirm person is acting ill, lethargic or confused, be sure to seek medical treatment for them immediately.
  4. Keep an eye on your home. If your home is surrounded by dry brush and trees, it only takes a spark to turn the entire area into an inferno. When a hot, dry spell is predicted, that should be your cue to make sure the area around your home is cleared of dry brush, dead trees, and other flammable stuff. Creating this firebreak may be the difference between watching your home light up like a torch and watching the wildfire that is heading your way skip completely over your property. I as well as some neighbors have been out each morning soaking the ground around our homes not so much for the green grass affect but in order to keep the dust (and the likelihood of a fire) down.
  5. Keep in mind other problems that can come along with a heatwave. Obviously the possibility of wildfire greatly increases during a heatwave--often times this is due to lightning strikes. Lightning storms can also be responsible for toasting your appliances and electrocuting people who are outside during a lightening storm so be aware that if an electrical storm is predicted, you may need to change your outdoor plans. Other things such as warnings not to burn during times of high heat, not to throw cigarette butts on the ground, and not to leave your children or pets unattended in a car should go without saying.


  1. Yeah, heat is a seriously underestimated hazard.

    A lot of people think that being thirsty and forced to abstain from work during the day is the worst that'll happen, while a heatwave killed over 14 000 people in France back in 2003

  2. Power outages happen all of the time, and AC may not be available. If it goes out, jump into a cold shower or fill a tub with cool water and take a dip. City water is typically on back up generators, so water pressure will be maintained.