How to Keep Yourself Safe in a Heat Wave | Mailee Phan
In California, we are currently facing a heat wave spanning across the entire state, with unusually high temperatures for the middle of September. As we navigate through these intense weather changes, it can be difficult knowing how to handle such extreme heat. How do we keep ourselves safe in such an uncomfortable situation? Hopefully with this guide, you will be able to learn the steps to ensure the proper handling of this unexpected weather.
1. Stay Hydrated - This is probably the most important. Be sure to drink a lot of water! Your body needs hydration in order to keep functioning at the optimal level. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as well, as those only dehydrate your body further.
2. Pay Attention to How Your'e Feeling - Keep an eye out for headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, fainting, and intense exhaustion, as these can all be signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which are dangerous to your health. In the case that you have heat stroke, it is strongly recommended that you call 911, as this is an extreme medical emergency.
3. Stay in Cool Environments - When not in school, this can be a difficult for some, especially those without air conditioning. As an alternative to staying in your house, you can move to an area that does have air conditioning, such as a library, mall, or other public space. If you’re not sure where to go, you can always find a local cooling center here
4. Protect Your Skin - While you should try your best to stay inside during the hottest hours of the day (10 am to 4 pm), should you end up spending time outside, be sure to wear sunscreen. Hats and sunglasses are also recommended to shield your face and eyes from the intensity of the sun.
5. Wear Lighter Clothing - Try your best to wear clothes that are loose, airy, and thin. Tight and thick clothes can trap body heat within the fabric, causing overheating of the body at a much faster rate.
6. Eat Well - To take care of your body during this period, you should try to eat in smaller quantities more often. This will help your body have a better distribution of energy over the course of your day. Meals should consist of nutrients and food with higher water contents.
7. Prepare your house - When you are inside your home, it is best to take preventative measures against heat illnesses. Don’t rely solely on fans, as they only create air flow and serve no purpose in cooling the body down. Cover the windows to prevent harsh lighting in your home, and weather-strip doors and windows to reduce cooler air escaping the inside of your home, and from hot air from getting in.
8. Power Outages - Try to reduce power consumption in the evenings. Too much energy usage across the power grid can lead to power outages, which inconvenience everyone across the grid. In the case of a power outage, try to use flashlights or other battery-powered lighting devices instead of other solutions like candles to reduce fire risk.
9. Help Others - After making sure you and your environment are prepared to face high heats, provide aid for your family and friends! If those around you are more susceptible to heat illnesses than you, they may be unable to take care of themselves properly. Help them be protected by having them follow similar steps to you.