How to Cope with Extreme Heat?

As temperatures rocket past averages, these extreme heatwaves can present many dangers. A little preparation before the thermometer edges into the red can both put your mind at ease and save you some unpleasant trips during these periods of extreme heat. Following is a guide on how to stay safe (and cool) amid these times of above-average temperatures.

What’s Considered Extreme Heat?

The definition of extreme heat, or a heatwave, is fairly simple. Extreme heat can be defined as above-average summertime temperatures and humidity. In other words, ‘extreme heat’ is any time temperatures rise above the average during the summer months of the year. While rare, heatwaves can occur outside the usual months. Especially in areas of higher humidity, it’s a good idea to watch the weather for abnormal temperature spikes.

How Does Extreme Heat Happen?

Extreme heat is a fairly predictable weather system, so preparing for a heatwave beforehand is possible. A heatwave is caused by a system of high pressure moving over an area and staying in place for two or more days. As a result, this causes a rise in temperature at ground level. This weather pattern, when coupled with high humidity, can cause temperatures to additionally feel much hotter than they are. So be sure to pay close attention to your local weather stations.

Preparations To Take Before & During A Heatwave 

Before a heatwave hits, there is a simple list of supplies that can help you weather the high temperatures. Having these items on hand can help avoid the unpleasant side effects of being caught off-guard by the spike in temperatures.
Supplies to gather before a period of extreme heat:
  • Cold Packs
  • Loose-fitting/lightweight clothing
  • Blackout curtains/tin foil (to put on or across windows)
  • A backup power source (such as Jackery Portable Power Stations) in case of a power grid failure
  • Plenty of water
  • Supply of medications
  • Sunscreen
Ideally, get errands and any outside work done before the spike in temperatures. It’s best to stay indoors where it’s cool during a heatwave.
 

What To Do During a Heatwave?

During a heatwave, the primary goal should be to stay cool. This means remaining inside, in the shade, and staying hydrated. Having blackout curtains (or tin foil, in a pinch) ready to go on the windows as the temperature starts to rise is a sure-fire way to keep cool in addition to AC.  Even with adequate preparation, you should avoid outdoor exercise and unnecessary exertion. As the power can fail during this time due to the infrastructure being strained, having a backup power source is essential. Personal CPAP machines, mini- fridge, portable air conditioners can be charged with a Jackery portable power station such as Explorer 2000 Pro and Explorer 1500 (air conditioner).
 

Health-Related Concerns With Heatwaves

When a heatwave settles over an area, the constantly high temperatures can present dangers to anyone not taking the proper precautions. High temperatures can dehydrate an individual much faster than normal, and our body’s natural cooling mechanisms can’t keep up. Prolonged exposure to these high temperatures, without proper care, can cause serious health complications and death, depending on the severity. Staying hydrated during a heatwave isn’t enough; exertion must be limited. Additionally, taking frequent breaks or outright avoiding outdoor activities are steps that need to be considered to ensure safety.
 

How Does Extreme Heat Affect The Human Body?

Extended high temperatures can cause the human body any number of distressing symptoms. In particular, Heatstroke and/or Heat Exhaustion is what should be watched for during a heatwave. Heat exhaustion requires the immediate cooling of the body to avoid further complications; take a break indoors! This is different from heat stroke which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. The following graphic from the Centers of Disease Control outlines the differences and appropriate steps to take for each.
HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

Does Extreme Heat Damage Your Mental Health Or Mind?

Extreme heat can affect both your physical body along with mental health. Studies have begun to indicate that at higher temperatures, we just aren’t able to think as clearly. In terms of physical damage, high temperatures are indeed dangerous to the brain. This is why fevers that last a long time need to be checked by a medical professional. A high enough temperature can cause the body to shut down, hence why heat stroke is so dangerous. If your body is giving you warning signs to slow down and cool off, don’t ignore it.
 

Can Extreme Heat Cause Diarrhea, Headaches, Or Nausea?

Heat exhaustion can present in a variety of different symptoms. Tell-tale signs that your body is suffering due to the high temperatures include diarrhea, headaches, and nausea. It’s important to stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to help your body stay hydrated. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, take a break! That is your body telling you to get somewhere cool.
 

Is Extreme Heat Bad For Diabetics?

If you are diabetic, extreme heat can present a danger to your health. High temperatures make you sweat, which in turn increases blood glucose levels as you become dehydrated. Diabetic individuals should pay close attention to their health during periods of extreme heat and prepare accordingly. Having a stock of insulin and snacks to avoid unnecessary trips outside is a productive way to keep yourself safe in such a scenario.
 

Is Extreme Heat Bad For Pregnancy?

If you are pregnant, there are already many factors that need to be taken into account for your, and the baby’s health. While there isn’t a lot of conclusive evidence suggesting high temperatures can affect fetal development, pregnant individuals are at a higher risk for heatstroke and exhaustion. Dehydration can cause complications during pregnancy, so be sure to stay hydrated and take it easy during these times of high temperatures.
 

Simple Tips to Help Keep Your Pets Safe During Heatwaves

Your furry friends aren’t immune to high temperatures, so it’s important to keep them cool and happy during times of excessively high temperatures. Following are some simple steps to keep your pets safe during a heatwave.
During extreme heat;
  • Don’t leave pets in the car for any amount of time
  • Limit outdoor exercise
  • Provide plenty of water and shady areas
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion/stroke, and prepare accordingly. 

Can Extreme Heat Drain a Car Battery?

In addition to affecting the physical health of an individual, extreme heat can affect other devices too. Extreme heat can rapidly drain a car’s battery, shortening both its ability to hold a charge and its overall life. Having a battery-jump-starter is a good idea if you live in an area prone to high temperatures. In addition, extreme heat can put excessive stress on utilities as most households utilize air conditioning. This can cause potential power grid issues; having a backup solar generator to run essential appliances is highly recommended.
 

Is Extreme Heat Bad For Diabetics?

If you are diabetic, extreme heat can present a danger to your health. High temperatures make you sweat, which in turn increases blood glucose levels as you become dehydrated. Diabetic individuals should pay close attention to their health during periods of extreme heat and prepare accordingly. Having a stock of insulin and snacks to avoid unnecessary trips outside is a productive way to keep yourself safe in such a scenario.

Is Extreme Heat Bad For Pregnancy?

If you are pregnant, there are already many factors that need to be taken into account for your, and the baby’s health. While there isn’t a lot of conclusive evidence suggesting high temperatures can affect fetal development, pregnant individuals are at a higher risk for heatstroke and exhaustion. Dehydration can cause complications during pregnancy, so be sure to stay hydrated and take it easy during these times of high temperatures.

Simple Tips to Help Keep Your Pets Safe During Heatwaves

Your furry friends aren’t immune to high temperatures, so it’s important to keep them cool and happy during times of excessively high temperatures. Following are some simple steps to keep your pets safe during a heatwave.

During extreme heat;

  • Don’t leave pets in the car for any amount of time
  • Limit outdoor exercise
  • Provide plenty of water and shady areas
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion/stroke, and prepare accordingly.
Simple Tips to Help Keep Your Pets Safe During Heatwaves

    Will Extreme Heat Kill My Plants?

    Just like the human body, plants are also vulnerable to extreme heat. While some species are adapted to such temperatures (such as desert-dwelling plants) many will require shade/water to survive a heatwave. If you live in an area where high temperatures are common, research the type of plants you want to cultivate to give them the best chance of making it through a heatwave.

    Can Extreme Heat Drain a Car Battery?

    In addition to affecting the physical health of an individual, extreme heat can affect other devices too. Extreme heat can rapidly drain a car’s battery, shortening both its ability to hold a charge and its overall life. Having a battery-jump-starter is a good idea if you live in an area prone to high temperatures. In addition, extreme heat can put excessive stress on utilities as most households utilize air conditioning. This can cause potential power grid issues; having a backup solar generator to run essential appliances is highly recommended.

    Which Is Worse, Extreme Heat Or Extreme Cold?

    The last question you may concern about is which is worse between extreme heat and cold. Well, in terms of extremes, both extreme hot and cold temperatures hold dangers for different reasons. Extreme heat overwhelms the natural ability of the body to cool off, which can lead to severe health complications and death. Likewise, extreme cold makes your body cool down faster than you can naturally stay warm, eventually shutting down essential bodily functions. Both extremes present equal, but different dangers, highlighting why preparedness is important.

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