How to Survive Extreme Heat: Life Hacks for Feeling Good in Extremely Hot Weather
Summer is the time when you can finally take a break from work and everyday worries at the sea or at the cottage. But along with the vacation season comes the extreme weather heatwave, which gives no rest, neither day nor night. Especially those who live in the urban jungle suffer from extreme heat in hot cities, where the red-hot asphalt becomes stuffy, and the air temperature rises several degrees higher than in the countryside. Even 20 minutes under the scorching rays of the sun can turn into severe burns. Weather forecasters predict that the weather this summer is expected to be super hot weather, even abnormally hot. They promise that temperatures will periodically go over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. For a person, especially the unaccustomed, such extreme numbers on the thermometer can be dangerous. Let’s find out how to survive the heat without consequences and ensure extreme heat safety.
What Extreme Air and Heat Conditions Are Dangerous for the Body?
As we found out, an unfavorable air temperature for the body is already a threshold of 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit. What is the reason for this? All protein molecules in our body, all organs, and systems are adapted to work optimally at an internal temperature of about +- 98°. Such a condition is an evolutionary acquisition. When the temperature changes even a degree more or less, it is already an uncomfortable condition for our body. Temperature affects all internal processes. And when it changes – this influence spreads to all organism structures. It would be logical to assume that we could live comfortably at 98 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is not the case. We produce our own heat from within because all chemical processes are accompanied by heat release. The body needs to radiate outward extra heat. But already at 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit, this becomes difficult, so we have increased sweating even with minor physical exertion.
But what is the extreme heat alert temperature for the body? Doctors agree that already at 86 °Fahrenheit the metabolism, potassium-sodium balance, rearrange the work of the kidneys is disturbed. 86° Fahrenheit is a relative threshold, after which even a healthy person can feel bad. And the closer the temperature gets to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the worse the effects become.
What Are the Effects of Extreme Heat on the Body?
When it gets hot we subconsciously change our behavior – we wear lighter clothes (to make it easier to evaporate sweat from the skin surface and cool down faster), we try to stay in the shade (to have better heat dissipation), we breathe less often (because breathing causes significant moisture loss, which the body needs in the heat).
So what are the implications of all this?
In order to cool down, you have to sweat. And in order to sweat, you have to lose moisture. This leads to an imbalance of the water-salt balance and dehydration. When dehydration disrupts metabolism, cell division, all systems and organs stop functioning properly. The kidneys, to conserve moisture, adjust to the water-saving mode, which leads to edema. Skin vessels and veins dilate to allow blood to cool, resulting in blood pressure abnormalities. Infrequent and shallow breathing leads to mild hypoxia and death of neurons in the brain. As a consequence – dizziness, tinnitus, darkening of the eyes, and other “charms” of the lack of oxygen.
There are categories of people who suffer more than others from extreme hot weather and cannot tolerate high temperatures at all. Not only do they feel worse, but their chronic illnesses worsen as well.
The risk group who can not stand the extremely hot weather includes:
- newborn children and older children;
- pregnant women;
- cardiac patients;
- hypertensive people;
- workers in the street, especially those who perform physical labor.
Insomnia, headaches, anxiety, and irritability are also the effects of extreme heat solar gives us. The body experiences a stressful situation, which affects the neurological and psychological state. And the most unpleasant thing that can happen in hot weather is heatstroke. Let’s talk about it below.
Why Does Heatstroke Occur and What Are Extreme Heat Signs?
Normally, when the body temperature rises, the body cools itself by perspiring and does not allow the body temperature to rise. However, in hot weather and high humidity, keeping cool in extreme heat becomes harder, as sweat does not evaporate quickly. In this case, heatstroke, the most dangerous health consequence of heat exposure to the body, can occur. Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself in hot weather: perspiration is ineffective and body temperature rises rapidly, sometimes reaching 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more within 15 minutes. Can you imagine that?
This can cause severe consequences for the nervous system and can manifest as dimness of consciousness, confusion or seizures, as well as disruption of other vital organs. If a person suffering from heatstroke is not treated immediately, it can lead to death or permanent disability.
Heatstroke, according to science terminology, occurs due to overheating of the body. It occurs when there is an interaction of two factors – high air temperature and high humidity – in which heat cannot be dissipated.
Heatstroke is accompanied by obvious symptoms:
- the body temperature rises to 100-106 ° or higher;
- weakness, lethargy;
- in the most severe cases, hallucinations and fainting may occur;
- the skin becomes dry, hot, and red;
- the pulse becomes weak and rapid;
- dizziness, nausea, vomiting;
- breathing becomes rapid, with shortness of breath;
- cramps and muscle spasms may occur.
This condition requires an urgent call for an ambulance. The first aid to the person is to try to cool the body as much as possible. By doing this, you may help the person surviving the heat.
How to Survive Extremely Hot Weather?
To avoid overheating in the extreme heat of global warming times, you should prepare for the heat in advance and follow simple rules that will allow you to survive the heat easier and save your health. In many countries at the onset of extremely hot weather, the authorities organize special points of assistance to the population, where you can cool down, drink, and get first aid if you do overheat. These are very common and popular in the United States.
Top Tips for Staying Cool in Extreme Heat
1. Spend as little time as possible outside and in unconditioned rooms. If possible, in the hottest hours – from 11.00 to 16.00 it is better not to go out at all. If you still have to go somewhere – you can either call a cab with air conditioning or move “short jogs”, periodically stopping at air-conditioned stores to cool down a little.
2. Drinking more water is one of the ways to stay cool in extreme heat. The body sweats too much and loses moisture, which needs to be replenished. Plus moisture is also needed to cool down faster when you sweat. If you don’t have something to sweat with, your body won’t be able to cool down. The norm of a drinking regimen of 2 liters a day in the heat is not relevant.The body needs to give everything it asks for. Drink as much as you want. You can drink up to 5 liters – so you will only save yourself.
3. Choose the proper clothing for extreme heat. The wrong clothes can block heat loss, which is already very difficult. Then, what to wear in extreme heat? Forget about synthetics, as it does not allow you to lose heat. So you should wear only light, thin and natural fabrics – cotton and linen are the best, they do not limit the heat exchange at all.
4. Keep to the temperature regime.Do your best to stay in the shade. Keep the temperature at home no higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and no higher than 75 degrees at night. Sleep and stay in the coolest room in the house.If you have air conditioning, use it to cool yourself. If you do not have an air-conditioner, you should cover your window with white blinds that reflect the light. Windows should not be closed tightly, because there will be an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the house, which is more dangerous than high temperatures – it is better to leave them ventilated for air circulation. During the day, spray yourself with water or take a cool shower – cool yourself in all ways.
5. Sports are great, but not in the heat! If you can’t live without jogging and exercising outdoors, move it to the early morning or late evening.
Summer is a wonderful time of year, but it’s best to be careful with the heat, which is getting worse and worse year after year. We have tried to inform you as much as possible about the dangers of the heat, and you should take care of yourself and be healthy!