When the temps this week hit near 100 how do you and your family keep safe and keep your cool? These tips should help you survive the heatwave.
The best situation is to stay in an air conditioned environment. Unfortunately that is not always realistic. Many of us work outside and keeping kids cooped up in the house all week can rattle mom’s nerves.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Make sure everyone increases their fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until kids are thirsty to get them to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. When you are home keep the kids in as little clothing as necesary…diapers and t-shirts are fine.
Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
Use a Buddy System
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN CARS
Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.
When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
- To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
If you do not have airconditioning in your home these ideas will help keep things a bit cooler:
Use box fans in a window with the air intake pulling air to the outside. During the evening you should reverse the fan to pull cool evening air into the house. Ceiling fans should be used to circulate air from opened windows. If you have a box fan you can create a little homemade air conditioning. Set the tub of ice water behind the fan and wait. The cool air will be pulled away from the tub and cool down your home.
Windows and blinds should be closed while the sun is up. Keeping windows and doors closed up will allow the house to stay as cool as possible for the longest amount of time.
Stay downstairs can also keep your cooler. Heat rises so the upper floors of your household so staying downstairs makes a big difference. If you have a basement you should consider taking breaks during the daytime to get a break from the heat.
Water and Ice-
Water is a great way to cool off. Take a cool bath or shower during the day. You can also soak your feet in an ice bath to cool down. Get a spray bottle that is filled with cold water and spray bursts on your face and neck throughout the day.
Keeping unnecessary lights on in your home can actually raise the temperature of your indoor air. Also avoid using ovens and stoves during the day which can also up the heat factor during a heat wave.
On the days that are the hottest you should take advantage of your local businesses that have air conditioning.
Keep down the humidity in your home-
Humidity makes hot tempertures more uncomfortable. Avoid any activity that will allow water vapor into the air:
- Don’t boil boil or steam foods
- Take short cool showers.
- Don’t water indoor plants unless it’s necessary because plants expire water (humidity) more quickly if their soil is damp.
- Bathrooms are high humidity areas, so keep the door closed.
- Avoid doing laundry. The laundry will still be there when the temps come down or go to an air conditioned laudrymat.
Don’t do other cleaning that requires water: Washing dishes, mopping floors, etc. It’s a good day to take a little housecleaning vacation. Get some paper plates for dinner.
Use Common Sense
The bottom line is USE COMMON SENSE to avoid a dangerous heat situation.
•Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to your body.
•Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.
•Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
•Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
•Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
•Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.
The best ideas…spend the day at the library, walk the mall or go to a movie and stay cool.