Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

According to Ready.gov, extreme heat is “a period of hight heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days.” And based on that description, the CSRA has definitely been experiencing extreme heat recently. Here in Georgia and South Carolina, we know that it’s still pretty early in the summer, which means this heat wave will more than likely continue for a while.

Extreme Heat Is Dangerous

While we expect high temperatures during the summer here in the South, it doesn’t make us immune to the effects it can have on us. This is especially true when we’re experiencing extreme heat for multiple days at a time. When it comes to all weather-related hazards, Ready.gov says extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths.

Weather is something we have no control over, and it’s nothing to play around with. It’s important to know what’s going on with our weather, and to be prepared. We often prepare for events like strong storms and tornadoes, but how prepared are we to deal with the heat wave?

Heat-Related Illnesses

First of all, we need to know the signs of heat-related illnesses. People exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time may be at risk for heat cramps, which includes muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.

There’s also heat exhaustion, which may result in heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, fast or weak pulse, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, and vomiting. With heat cramps and heat exhaustion, a person needs get to a cooler location and ensure they are hydrated, taking sips of water or electrolyte drinks. You should call your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse.

The most extreme heat-related illness is heat stroke. The signs of a heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees farenheight); red, hot, and dry skin with no sweatl; a rapid, strong pulse; and dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness. If a heat stroke is suspected, you should call 9-1-1 or get the person to the hospital immediately. Try to cool the person down as much as possible while awaiting medical help, but don’t give them anything to drink.

It’s also important to know that older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at a higher risk from extreme heat. And here in the South, we know humidity is prevalent, which only increases the feeling of heat.

Tips For Extreme Heat

There are many ways you can prepare for extreme heat. You can prepare your home by covering windows with drapes or shades, weather-stripping doors and windows, add window reflectors, and add insulation to keep the heat out. Limiting use of your oven and stove can also help keep you home cooler.

During extremely hot days, if possible, avoid staying outside for extended periods of time. Look for activities indoors when possible. Also note, the CSRA has many cooling centers in our area if you’re in need.

Below are some additional tips for dealing with extreme heat. Please share these with anyone you know who has to work during this type of weather to ensure they are adequately prepared.

  • Stay Hydrated

    This might be the most obvious of all the tips. It’s important all year round to stay hydrated, but especially so during these hot summer months. While the most recommended amount of water per day is 8 glasses of water a day, if you’re spending more time outside, you will need to increase that amount. Sports drinks can also be helpful for replacing electrolytes that our bodies lose when we sweat.

    One way to see if you’re getting enough water is to note your urine color. Dark yellow urine often means you’re not drinking enough.

    Stay Hydrated -3D render illustration of the row of plastic bottles with clear purified drink carbonated water isolated on white background with selective focus effect

  • Wear Appropriate Clothing

    It’s recommended to wear lightweight, loose clothing in extreme heat. This can help keep your body cool. And wearing light colors can also help by drawing less heat to you.

    Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing - An exhausted and sweaty young Asian woman in sportswear is fighting the heat wave while running in a park on a sunny summer day. summer activity, heat stroke, dehydrated

  • Find Shade

    When you must be outdoors, find shade when you can. The use of a hat is also helpful to protect your face.

    Find Shade

  • Limit Physical Activity

    If you workout or play sports, try to plan those activities for earlier or later in the day when the weather is potentially cooler. Unfortunately, if you work in the heat, it can be harder to accomodate, but if there are ways to do the most strenuous parts of the job earlier in the day, that may help.

    Fitness couple going for sunrise running. Fitness man and woman running on road.

  • Cool Down With Water

    Heat escapes through our skin, and if we can keep our skin cooler, it can help when we’re dealing with extreme heat. Wearing a wet shirt if appropriate can help keep you cool. There are also cooling sprays available, or you could simply keep a mister bottle of water to spray on to cool your skin. Cooling towels and cloths are also helpful and can be reused throughout the day.

    After exposure to extreme heat, taking a cool shower or bath can help as well… but be sure to cool down slowly.

    Putting your hands and feet in cold water can also help quickly cool your body down.

    Cool down with water - Chrome bath tap and water flowing from shower head

  • Keep Your Pets Cool Too

    Just like humans, pets are at risk for heat-related problems. If your pets are outside, ensure there is plenty of cool water and shade available. For indoor pets, limit outside play and make water readily available.

    And if you’re planning to walk your pet, be aware that asphalt, dark pavement, and concrete can get very hot and burn your pet’s feet. You can test the area you’re planning to walk by placing the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold it there for five seconds, it’s too hot.

    And just like with kids, you should never leave your pet in a hot vehicle!

    Hot day with dog. Thirsty yellow labrador retriever drinking water from the plastic bottle his owner.

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