Staying Cool, Safe, and Informed In a Heatwave

 Some people are going to be experiencing moments of high heat here in the near future as spring comes close to an end and summer starts to take hold. While, some people have obvious places and/or ways to get out of the heat others just either don't have these things available to them, it may not be immediately obvious, or they may be traveling and not have familiar surroundings or amenities they were able to rely on.

 Air conditioning is the first way to protect yourself from heat-related diseases and deaths. Health authorities are encouraging everyone to check with friends and neighbors who don't have air conditioning as they may not always have anywhere else to go or anything to help mitigate the heat. [Sources: 2, 12] Fans are also a good cheap source for staying cool but just remember they start to become less effective as it gets hotter and hotter up until about the 90s and up, fans wont prevent heat-related illness. Always remember that you can take a cool shower or bath as well to cool you down if you don't have access to a pool or other bodies of water such as a pond, lake, beach, etc. One resource that a lot of people have near them that not everyone takes advantage of is shopping malls and cinemas and just about any place that focuses on customer service.

 Diet and clothing are also two things to pay attention to while trying to deal with the heat. Eating light unheated foods such ass fruit and salads and veggies are much easier to digest than hot and heavy foods like like meats, potatoes, and fried foods. This also allows you to keep your home cooler as you wont be cooking and turning on heat sources in the places you are trying to keep cool. It's also always a good idea to dress appropriately when having to face increased heat throughout your day. Wearing loose, light-colored clothing, UV-protection such as sunscreen and glasses, and clothing with moisture-wicking properties if you have to be outdoors. If you know you are going to be outside for an extended period of time it's always a great idea to consider a hat that'll provided shade with a wide brim that is large and goes all the way around.

 These days we have some extra things we need to consider and worry about due to COVID-19 with the majority of people wearing masks. If you are wearing a cloth face cover and feel like you are overheating or having difficulty breathing, place at least a 6 foot distance between yourself and others and remove the mask and take some time to cool off and get yourself back to normal before putting it back on and returning to what you were doing. Most people wont be effected by this but it can happen especially if your mask starts to absorb your sweat or gets wet from trying to stay cool. Remember that it is all about staying safe as much as possible for yourself and those around you.

 It's always a good idea to stay informed about the weather and what kind of conditions you may be facing in the near future. If you check your preferred source of reliable weather forecasting and you see a heat wave coming one of the best things to do is to just postpone any activities that are going to be outdoors to prevent exposure to conditions that might cause heat illness. It may be inconvenient at the the moment but it is better in this case to be safe rather than sorry. While most of us welcome the hot weather is can also be hot enough to be a health risk and obviously the hotter it is the higher the risks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over exposure to heat can cause exhaustion, confusion, heart attacks and exacerbate existing health conditions like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. [Sources: 4, 5]

 Always remember to drink plenty of water! We can not stress this enough please STAY HYDRATED drinking plenty of water helps your body fight the heat but it also does much more than that as well and there are always benefits to staying hydrated throughout the year. Some people may say they don't like to drink water but there are plenty of things out there that can help with that weather it be water enhancers with plenty of different flavors to choose from or even sports drinks just remember with all these options you'll have to keep track of your electrolyte levels and may either need to take more or less depending on how you are feeling. Often times our bodies are telling us exactly everything we need to know and it can often just be a matter of just choosing to listen to it.

 Look out for each other and stay aware of the people around you as not everyone is effected the same buy heat. Among the people most at risk of heat-related diseases are children under 4 years of age, people over 65, people who are overweight, people with existing diseases. Watch out for the signs of heat exhaustion such as tight skin, a fast or weak pulse, vomiting, weakness and fainting. If the skin is too hot or too dry, people can have seizures or fall into a coma. [Sources: 1, 6] So, stay safe out there and look out for those close to you and others around you and do your best to enjoy your summer!! 

[1]: https://www.thehealthy.com/first-aid/how-to-stay-safe-during-heat-wave/

[2]: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/extremeheat/index.html

[3]: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/06/07/how-to-handle-a-heat-wave-safety-tips-and-ways-to-stay-cool

[4]: https://www.ready.gov/heat

[5]: https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/5-tips-for-heat-wave-safety.htm

[6]: https://people.com/health/a-major-heat-wave-is-on-the-way-heres-how-to-stay-cool-and-safe/

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