It’s Getting Hot in Here

image source: weather.com

So hot! We’re about six weeks into summer and it’s already ridiculously HOT. According to weather.com, August is going to be a scorcher. For those of y’all that live in the “middle of the country from northern Oklahoma and much of Kansas to southern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota,” expect August temperatures to be above average.

My AC wall unit Photo by Alyssa Llamas

Like most twenty-somethings, I’m doing everything I can to save money. For a while, that included NOT using the AC. I opened the windows, bought a fan, and even put ice packs in my pillow! Up until a few weeks ago, those methods actually worked. But once it got into the triple digits, I caved. Though I’m not looking forward to my upcoming electricity bill, at least I’m not melting in my tiny (sans central air) apartment.

Extreme heat can make you sick. Usually, our bodies do a good job controlling our body temperatures. Sweating (or glistening, whatever you want to call it) helps our bodies cool down. Sometimes, it’s just too stinkin’ hot and sweating isn’t enough. That’s when we’re at a greater risk of becoming ill.

Heat stroke, the most serious heat-related illness, occurs when the body cannot control its temperature. The body gets so hot (and not in the sexy-kinda way), sometimes reaching 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes that the sweating mechanism fails. If not treated immediately, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability. Warning signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature (above 103°F), red, hot, and dry skin, dizziness, and unconsciousness. If you see someone with any of these signs, call 911 asap. You can also try these methods to help cool the person down:

  • Get the victim to a shady area
  • Immerse the victim in a tub of cool water
  • Place the person in a cool shower
  • Sponge the person with cool water

Heat exhaustion, a milder form of heat-related illnesses, “can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids” (CDC). Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, and fainting. Here are ways to cool the body during heat exhaustion:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages
  • Rest
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • Seek an air-conditioned environment
  • Wear lightweight clothing

The hottest city in America

Beat the heat and use these steps to safe and healthy during hot weather (CDC):

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully
  • Pace yourself
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you
  • Do not leave children in cars
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates

Stay Cool Summer 2012

By ALYSSA LLAMAS

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