It’s summer and heat waves are happening all over the country. While high heat indexes, particularly if they are occurring for multiple days, can be serious for anyone, it’s particularly challenging for those with chronic conditions. Not only can medications change how people respond to heat and sun, they also might be less likely to sense temperature change. In addition, those overweight tend to retain body heat and are therefore more at risk for heat related illnesses.
Be aware of signs of overheating: cramps, dizziness, fainting, headaches, heavy sweating, increased heart rate, nausea. Get help if you exhibit any of these signs.
Enjoy a long cool shower, a swim or use a cooling tie. Keep a squirt bottle in the refrigerator, squirting yourself when it gets to be too much. As the water evaporates, it cools you.
Air conditioning is better than a fan. Don’t have one and can’t afford one? Make a makeshift air conditioner by putting ice in a shallow bowl in front of a fan. As the ice melts, it will cool you. Note this doesn’t work so well when it’s humid. Seal any cracks between a window unit and the frame with peelable caulking or a sealant strip. These steps help ensure good airflow and keep the coils cleaner, which means more efficient and more effective cooling. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. When the AC is on keep windows and doors closed.
Take it easy. Avoid strenuous activities
Take steps to avoid the sun such as wearing a wide brimmed hat, using sunscreen (reapply if you are swimming), stay in the shade or use an umbrella,
Have sun blockers on windows to reduce sunlight in your house. Look for curtains and blinds that block the sun. You can find these at many stores, including places like Walmart.
Eat Cool Foods. When possible avoid turning on the stove. Spicy foods can cool you down. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which can make you sweat more. As the water evaporates it makes you feel cooler. Not surprising a lot of spicy salsa gets consumed in the summer. Salads and other light foods are perfect when the temps are high.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. As you lose water you can become dehydrated and your body temperature rises. Replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool.
Evaporative Coolers can be a good option depending on where you live. They tend to work best when relative humidity is 60% or less; however, evaporative coolers can work in humid conditions when they are used in semi-outdoor settings (loading bays and docks, garages) or outdoors(sporting events, festivals). In general, evaporative coolers (also called swamp coolers) are cheaper, more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly than air conditioners. You can move them from room to room, including outdoor patios. Check out 5 Things to Consider When Buying an Evaporative Cooler.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and drinks with lots of sugar. They can cause you to become dehydrated. Drink water instead.
Turn off appliances, computers etc. They can generate heat. If you are using a lap top, keep it off your lap. Skip the drying cycle on the dishwasher and leave the door open to let the dishes dry. Use appliances only when necessary and in the evening if possible, when the air is cooler. Instead of the dryer, hang clothes outside and even consider hand washing dishes Use compact fluorescent bulbs as they not only save money, they give off less heat than standard incandescents.
Some extra tips:
• Read and watch movies about snow and cold temps.
• Take a clean cotton sock. Fill it with rice and tie it off. Put it in the freezer for two hours before bed time. Slide it between the sheets. Rice retains cold for a long period of time.