More practical tips for surviving extremely hot days

Given the major heat wave in Europe these weeks, an extra list of doctor-approved things to do(or not) in hot days is a welcome addition to my previous “heat survival tips“. I hope it’ll help at least a bit to cool you guys off.

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sun between 11 AM – 6 PM.
  • Shut the sun-exposed windows and cover them with both curtains and window blinds. Keep them shut for as long as the outside temperature is higher than the inside. Let the cool air flow in the early morning or late night, while the outside temperature is lower.
  • Reduce to minimum running electrical apparel – it tends to overheat and, what’s worse, to heat the surrounding air even more. Same goes for the light-bulbs – replace the incandescent ones with fluorescent ones as they greatly reduce the generated heat.
  • Set the air-conditioning to 5 degrees Celsius below the environmental temperature – don’t set it to too cool cause you risk body shock and catching the cold when coming sweaty from outside.
  • Don’t use fans if the air temperature is above 32 degrees – the ventilated air gets hotter because of the fan, so it won’t do you much good; plus, the constant air stream risks dehydrating you even more.
  • Spend at least 2-3 hours daily in cool places with air-conditioning. If you have none at home or work, malls, cinemas or institutions lobbies are some cheap ways to get some.
  • Wear hats to protect you from the sun, light and loose clothes made of natural fibers, in light colors.
  • Take frequent showers with slightly warm water – don’t overheat your body with hot water, but don’t overcool it as you risk thermal shock.
  • Drink lots of liquids(1,5 – 2 liters daily) – water is best. During heat-waves, a glass of water every 15-20 minutes is a good habit to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid alcohol of any kind as it dehydrates and lowers your body’s heat defending mechanisms.
  • Avoid sugary drinks – they only make you thirstier, avoid energy-boosting drinks(coffee, black tea, cola).
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables as they contain plenty of water – melon, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
  • Did you know that a glass of yoghurt hydrates you as much as a glass of water – being, at the same time, nutritive and refreshing?
  • If your body isn’t able to keep the temperature around 37 degrees Celsius or is constantly dehydrated, you might experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
  • The main way to prevent heat-related illnesses is to stay well-hydrated, making sure your body can get rid of extra heat, and to be sensible about exertion in hot, humid weather.
  • Avoid physical activities, and if the heat related illnesses continue, go see the doctor.
  • In case of heat stroke, while waiting for the ambulance you MUST try reducing the temperature of the victim: splash them with cold water, even cold showers, use ice to cool them down.

Useful links about heat, heat-related illnesses and their prevention:
CDC Extreme Heat
American Red Cross Lifeguarding
Medicine Net
Heat stroke signs, symptoms, and treatment by MedicineNet.com
Family Doctor
Web MD


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