Whispers of Winter in the Heat: A Detailed Blueprint for Cool Comfort
While watching the Weather Channel this morning, it was reported that 180 million people were subject to a heat index of over 100 degrees, and it made me ask a question: Just how serious is that?
Well, an average of over 650 people died of heat-related causes each year from heatstroke. Victims of heatstroke may experience headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, lack of sweating, and eventual fainting and death.
With all the ways of keeping coolly available, it seems to me that is just an inexcusable way to get sick, much less die. There are simple and common-sense ways to avoid putting yourself in that position.
You may not be able to escape those high heat temperatures where you live, but you can find ways to beat the heat by keeping cool in those situations.
Why Heat Stroke Happens
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.
Aug 15, 2017, Mayo Clinic
If not paying attention to the way you feel, a heatwave can kill you directly by inducing heat stroke, which could severely damage the brain, your kidneys, and other vital organs.
It may increase your chances of succumbing to a heart condition, stroke, or breathing problems. Your body does that because it tries to divert blood away from your internal organs and toward your skin.
Because of that internal body adjustment, you only think everything is all right with the world.
And to me, one of the most devastating situations is people, especially children, and pets, being left unintended in their cars.
In 2018, 52 children lost their lives — the most in over 20 years. This year, there have been 21 such deaths as of July 16, 2019.
Weather Channel® Heat Scale Example:
With high outside temperatures and blistering heat index, it is imperative that we all find ways to keep cool so we may avoid making ourselves or our children, and our pets part of the statistical spreadsheet.
Your Choice: Keeping Cool Or Heat Stroke
Coincidently, while writing this post, a CNN news report came over my cell phone about former NFL football player Mitch Petrus. An NFL lineman and Super Bowl Champion died at the age of 32 from heatstroke.
Working outside his parents’ home.
32 years old and not far removed from being a professional athlete
32 YEARS OLD!
How can this possibly happen, and could it have been avoided?
You have only 2 options.
It can and should be avoided by knowing your situation and the dangers and by taking action when the following symptoms are experienced:
Dizziness and light-headed feeling
A throbbing headache
Redness and dryness of the skin
Lack of sweating
Muscle weakness and or cramps
Nausea and or vomiting
Change of mood, such as confusion and disorientation
The first option is to immediately stop what you are doing and get inside or undercover to rest and hydrate.
Heat Stroke Treatment First Aid
The second option is to pray somebody is looking out the window and sees you lying on the ground and is quick to administer some first aid.
First things first:
You are going to need help. Someone looking out that window will need emergency medical care
Then immediately, you will be needed to be moved out of the heat and into the shade or, better yet, into an air-conditioned environment.
You will need excess clothing removed and cooled down by whatever means; for example, get them into a cool water tub or shower.
You may also cool off with damp sheets and a fan.
Rehydrate without alcoholic or sugar-based beverages.
The recovery time for heatstroke is variable; if hospitalized, the initial recovery may be done within 1-2 days; complete recovery may take about 2 months to a year.
The importance of recognizing the early warning signs of heat cramps and heat exhaustion and responding to those symptoms with treatment (cooling and rehydrating) could be the difference between life and death.
Try not to put yourself in an option 2 situation!
Keeping Cool by Hydrating To Avoid Heat Stroke
What is the best way to avoid heatstroke?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
It’s too late to wait for a drink if you are thirsty. That of and by itself is the very first sign of dehydration. Do not wait until you are feeling bone dry to stop and get that all-important drink.
And keep in mind that it does not have to be hot outside for you to become dehydrated.
Regarding hydrating, there is absolutely no set number for how much water to consume. It’s all about listening to your body and acting accordingly. The minimum is eight 8oz glasses of water per day and more if outside expending energy such as working around the house or exercising.
Also, remember that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and will cause you to lose fluids at an unhealthy faster rate.
I guess I won’t be drinking that light beer while doing yard work in the 90-degree heat!
Drinking more than just straight water to help you out during strenuous times outside in the heat will be a good idea because it is not the only thing your body needs.
- Consider drinking those sports drinks that contain electrolytes to replace those lost through sweating.
- Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing with a hat when you are active outside.
- You should limit your activity in chores around the house and your exercise regimen.
- One of the best ways to keep cool is to be well-ventilated and shaded when possible.
9 Hacks To Keeping Cool In Your Home
The importance of keeping cool in your own home can not be overstated. Health issues could show themselves if you do not pay attention to your situation properly.
There are those of us with no air conditioning in our homes; others may be having trouble with the system they have, while some of us are off the grid due to past or current crisis situations.
1. Turn off those lights. Common sense here. Light bulbs, especially the older types, give off a lot of heat, something you are not looking for now.
2. Keep the stove off. If at all possible, cook outside on the grill. And remember these situations and think of the convenience of a side burner on a grill when you purchase a new one in the future.
3. Circulate the air. If you open a window on one side of the house, open one on the other. Doors too. You will be surprised at the air movement this simple hack will accomplish.
4. Cover those unopened windows. Keep the blinds shut and the drapes drawn to block out the sun and the heat.
5. Fan hacks. Put box fans on the window sills and have them blow out to remove heat, and reverse those ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise to direct the heat. Most ceiling fans have a switch, so you may do that.
6. Hang your wet laundry up outside. Keep that hot running clothes dryer off and air dry that clothing outside on an old fashion clothes-line.
7. Exhaust fans. Most bathrooms and kitchens have those fans to draw out steam and smoke. Use them now to blow out the heat of your house.
8. Dampen up the curtains. If there is a breeze outside, think of how cool it will be if it blows through a cooled-down drape.
9. Iron clothing strategically. You may do that chore at night and also right outside your door on a patio. There is no need to bring more heat into the house.
Keeping Cool While Sleeping
Regardless of how hot it may get outside, we all need a good night’s sleep so as not to have a miserable start to the day when it’s time to get out of bed.
So how will you sleep comfortably in the sweltering heat, especially when you do not have the convenience of air conditioning?
- As stated in the last section, you can start by cooling that house down as much as possible during the day.
- You do whatever it takes to prevent a heat buildup in the place you plan on sleeping in, and you do that before the sun goes down. Just follow some of those previously stated cooling hacks.
- Those hacks might not be enough. Especially if you got some important things to do in the morning, consider asking a friend or relative if it would be OK to crash at their place for the night. Bring some chips and dip and some adult beverages. Make a little party of it.
- If you are stuck in your own dwelling, which happens to be a two-story house, consider sleeping downstairs if your bedroom is on the second floor. Remember that heat rises, and keeping cool on the first floor will be much easier.
- Like camping? Consider sleeping outside on an air mattress. That would be very easy to do if you have a covered patio.
- You could upgrade your sheets. Lightweight, breathable sheets are available to help you stay cooler while sleeping. And switching to a gel mattress would be a good idea also.
- You may go to bed with an ice pack. Partially fill a hot water bottle with water and freeze it.
- Put a large bowl of ice in front of a fan.
- You could wrap yourself in a damp sheet and hang damp sheets in front of the window, which would be very effective if a breeze blew.
Keep your chin up and your body temperature down, and we all might get through these heat waves without any problems to your health and well-being.
Embracing the Chill: Master the Craft of Keeping Your Cool
Let’s face it, life’s literal and figurative heat waves can test your mettle.
But here you are, ready to dive deep into the oasis of composure. Your first step?
Revisit those golden tips mentioned above and pick one to try tomorrow. Remember, every moment you stay cool; you’re not just beating the heat; you’re harnessing control, bettering your well-being, and showcasing grace under pressure.
Ready to make the sizzle work in your favor?
Dive in, embrace the chill, and let the world see the coolest version of you. Go on, be the master of your own thermostat.