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How to best stay cool in a heat wave! Plus the three heat-related syndromes
The second week of July 2022 will bring another heat wave throughout France. The Vendée will also be hit hard with temperatures of over 37 degrees Celsius. Here are some tips on how to keep your body cool during a huge heat, what you can do to keep the house cool, and the three heat-related syndromes that keep emergency services very busy during a heat wave. Be safe!
BODY HEALTH DURING A HEAT WAVE
- DRINK WATER
- DON'T WAIT TO BE THIRSTY TO DRINK WATER OR SOMETHING WITH ELECTROLYTES.
- AVOID CAFEINE
- DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL
- IF YOU DO MAKE SURE YOU DRINK ALCOHOL LOTS OF WATER IN BETWEEN.
- STAY IN THE SHADE OR KEEP INDOORS
- WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING
- AVOID STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES INCL EXCERSIZE
- KNOW WHICH PARTS OF YOUR BODY ARE THE WARMEST AND COOL THEM DOWN - e.g. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A SWIMMING POOL, A BUCKET WITH COLD WATER TO STICK YOUR FEET IN WILL DO THE TRICK. OR WET DOWN YOUR HEAD
- SLATHER YOUR BODY WITH SPF50 SUNTAN LOTION AND USE AFTER-SUN LOTIN OR ALOE VERA AFTER BEING OUT IN THE SUN AND SHOWERING
- DON'T SPRAY COLD WATER ON A FAN - IT'S AN ELECTRICAL APPLIANCE!
- INSTEAD PLACE A BUCKET OF WATER OR ICE CUBES IN FRONT OF A FAN
- GO SIGHTSEEING SOMEWHERE WITH AIRCONDITIONING
HOW TO KEEP THE HOUSE COOL DURING A HEAT WAVE
- KEEP THE WINDOWS OPEN DURING THE NIGHT
- CREATE A CROSSBREEZE IF YOU CAN
- HEAT RISES, SO IN THE MORNINGS AND EVENINGS OPEN ATTIC WINDOWS TO LET ANY RESIDUAL HEAT ESCAPE
- CLOSE THE WINDOWS AND SHUTTERS AROUND 9 AM OR WORK WITH THE SUN.
- IF YOU DON'T HAVE SHUTTERS, USE BLANKETS
- DON'T USE APPLIANCES THAT HEAT UP THE HOUSE MORE SUCH AS OVEN OR GAS COOKER
- EAT SEASONAL FRUIT OR VEGGIES
- EAT SMALL, LIGHT MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY. AVOID HEAVIER MEALS AS THEY TAKE LONGER TO DIGEST INCL PROTEIN E.G. AT A BARBEQUE AS THIS SPEEDS UP YOUR METABOLISM WHICH MAKES YOU FEEL HOT
- TURN OFF COMPUTERS - THEY PRODUCE A LOT OF HEAT
- SAME WITH INCANDESCENT LIGHT BULBS
- USE FANS TO KEEP COOL
- REST IN THE SHADE
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER DURING A HEAT WAVE
- TAKE A COOL SHOWER BEFORE BED. IF YOU'RE VERY HOT, START WITH WARM WATER AND GRADUALLY TURN THE DIAL COOLER FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN STAND IT UNTIL YOU FEEL YOUR BODY IS COOLING DOWN.
- HAVE A FAN BY THE BED
- OPEN THE SHUTTERS AS SOON AS IT'S COOLING DOWN OUTSIDE. IF IT'S HOTTER OUTSIDE THAN INSIDE, KEEP THE SHUTTERS CLOSED FOR NOW
- DURING THE NIGHT COOL YOURSELF DOWN WITH A COLD, DAMP TOWEL.
- RUN COLD WATER OVER FEET AND HANDS/ ARMS
- CONTINUE TO HYDRATE
TO BEACH OR NOT TO BEACH?
- TEMPTING AS IT MAY BE, AVOID THE BEACH DURING THE HOTTEST PARTS OF THE DAY. ENJOY SOME BEACH AND GENTLE SWIMMING IN THE MORNING OR LATER ON IN THE EVENING, BUT NOT DURING THE DAY
- STAY OUT OF THE SUN
- SLATHER YOURSELF WITH SPF50 LOTION
The three heat-related syndromes: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke
- HEAT CRAMPS SYMPTOMS:
- painful, involuntary muscle spasms
- spasms more intense and prolonged than normal leg cramps
- What to do in case of heat cramps: rest and cool down for several hours even after the cramps dissipate, drink clear juice or a sports drink, perform a gentle range of motion stretches, gentle massaging of the affected muscles, seek medical attention if the heat cramps don't disappear
- HEAT EXHAUSTION SYMPTOMS:
- Cool, clammy skin and goose bumps even in the heat
- Feeling dizzy, fatigued and/ or faint
- Sweating profusely
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure when standing up
- Muscle cramping
- What to do in case of heat exhaustion: stop all activity and rest, move to a cooler place, drink cool water or a sports drink
- Body temperature of 104 F or 40 C or higher (rectal measure)
- Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma
- Skin feels hot and dry to the touch in heat stroke from the sun
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed to red skin as your body temperature increases.
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Racing pulse
- Throbbing headache
- What to do in case of heatstroke: call emergency services (in France dial 15 or 112) and meanwhile get the person into shade or indoors, removing excess clothing and cool the person down any way you can (shower, ice packs, cold compressesm wet towels on head, neck and groin)
- SOURCE MAYO CLINIC FIRST AID
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