During the last few years, the world has experienced the warmest temperatures on record. These weather trends, and heat waves, are expected to continue, according to the Global Change Report.
Here are five heat wave safety tips to help you deal with the dangers of summer.
Dress for the weather
It may seem like a no brainer, but during a heat wave, you have to dress appropriately. Wear loose, light-colored clothing; UV-protective and moisture-wicking clothing are best if you have to work or be outside. This will help protect your from sunburn and help absorb sweat to keep you a little cooler. Also be sure to protect your face, hands and any other exposed skin with sunscreen. And wear a hat and sunglasses.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activities
If possible, take part in outdoor activities during the morning hours, or postpone them until evening when temperatures are cooler. Take frequent breaks in the shade. If you're working outside in the heat, and the activity makes your heart pound or you're gasping for breath, stop and get inside to cool off and rest, especially if you feel lightheaded, confused or faint. Use the buddy system, too. If you're working in the heat, check on your co-workers — and have them check in on you. Heat-related illness can make you confused or even lose consciousness.
Perspiration is your body's way of staying cool, but that moisture loss has to be replenished regularly. If you have to be outside during a heat wave, it's imperative to drink up, even if you're not thirsty.
Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks; these will actually make you lose more fluids. You also want to stick to drinks that aren't super cold.
If you're on a fluid restrictive diet or have a problem with fluid retention, definitely talk to your doctor before drinking more than your normally prescribed amount.
Ideally during a heat wave, you want to say indoors where there's air conditioning. If that's not possible, many cities open up cooling centers during heat waves to provide citizens with relief, especially in areas where air conditioning isn't prevalent.
You can also use fans, but just keep in mind when temperatures are in the 90s or higher, fans won't prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath is a much better option. Eat only light, cool foods such as fruit and salads. They're easier to digest than hot, heavy meals, and your home won't heat up when you prepare them.
Protect Those Most at Risk
Heat-related illness can affect anyone, but some people are particularly at risk. If you live with, or know people, who fit into any of these categories, check on them frequently during a heat wave.
The CDC suggests we monitor adults at risk at least twice a day for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and infants and young children, even more frequently.
This article has been taken from health journal Howstuffworks.