Too Hot To Handle: How to Prepare For Heat-Related Emergencies this Summer
According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year since 1880. This is continuing a worldwide warming trend.
In other words, get ready for a scorcher this summer.
This global heat wave trend can cause families to experience heat-related conditions and emergencies. These include:
- Heat cramps
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
Don’t leave your family susceptible to these heat-related emergencies. Instead, our guide can prepare you for the scorching sun.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for this summer’s excessive heat.
1. Get Air Flow Going
Give your home’s AC a little extra help. To promote air circulation throughout your home, buy a few box fans. Don’t forget to turn your ceiling fans on, too.
Open the doors and use those box fans to kick out hot air. This creates a makeshift exhaust system. It can even draw cooler evening air into your house.
During those evenings, open the windows. This promotes air circulation, too.
Don’t forget to close them up once the sun starts to rise!
Draw your blinds and curtains closed as well. Now your home will remain cool for as long as possible during the day.
If it’s ever cooler outside than it is inside, open the windows and turn the fans back on. Now you can provide your family with a cool and comfortable atmosphere, so everyone can escape the heat.
2. Drink Up!
Remaining hydrated is an essential step for avoiding heatstroke.
If you’ve had your fill, you can also use water to cool your skin. For example, you can fill buckets or basins with cool water and soak your feet.
You can also wear wet towels and bandanas against your shoulders or head.
If you’re still feeling warm, take a cool shower or bath. You can also fill a spray bottle with cold water. Then, give yourself a refreshing spritz when you’re feeling warm.
Don’t forget to pack a cold water bottle when you head out. Try not to drink water that’s been left in the car to warm.
Instead, get the recommended amount of water your body needs to remain hydrated and cool.
Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk for the heat-related emergencies we mentioned earlier.
3. Recognize the Signs
According to the CDC, heat-related deaths are one of the deadliest weather-related health outcomes in the U.S. In fact, there were 8,081 heat-related deaths reported between 1999 and 2010.
For 72 percent of these deaths, the underlying cause was exposure to excessive heat.
In the remaining 28 percent, the heat was a contributing factor.
94 percent of these deaths occurred between May and September. Instead of leaving your family at the risk, you can learn to recognize the signs of heat-related conditions.
These are muscular pains and spasms. They often occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are an early sign your body isn’t enjoying the heat.
If someone is experiencing heat cramps, massage the affected area. They should also lightly stretch. Make sure they’re in a cool area out of the heat.
Have them slowly drink water or a sports drink with electrolytes.
The summer heat might also cause heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:
- Pale, moist, cool, or flushed skin
Move the person into a room with good air circulation. Try to remove as much clothing as possible. Then, apply cool, wet towels to their skin.
You can also spray or fan the person to help them cool down.
If they’re conscious, have them sip water or a sports drink. Give them four ounces every 15 minutes to improve their hydration.
If their condition doesn’t improve, they vomit, or they’re unconscious, call 911.
This is the most life-threatening of the three heat-related emergencies. This condition occurs when heat overwhelms the body’s systems.
The signs of heatstroke include:
- High body temperature
- Red skin
- Dry or moist skin
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Shallow breathing
Call 911 immediately if someone is experiencing heatstroke.
While you wait for medical personnel, cool the person’s body with wet towels. Make sure to rotate the towels out so they remain cold.
Knowing how to identify and react to these three heat-related emergencies could help you save someone’s life.
4. Check on Man’s Best Friend
Adults and children aren’t the only people at risk. Pets can suffer from heatstroke, too.
Try to give your pet a cool bath or shower to lower their body temperature.
You can also leave a cool towel on a tile floor for them to lay on. Make sure there’s plenty of color water in their bowl as well.
The signs your pet is experiencing heat stroke include:
- Wide eyes
- Excessive drooling
- Hot skin
- Rapid panting
- Twitching muscles
- A dazed look
Contact your vet if you think your pet is suffering from a heat stroke.
5. Upgrade Your AC
Your home’s AC might need a little TLC.
To make sure your AC is working at its best, check the air conditioning filter. Make sure your air filter is clean (instead of covered in dust and debris). Otherwise, it might not keep your home as cool as you’d hope.
If a few rooms have window-mounted air conditioning units, make sure they’re snug and properly placed (no air leaks allowed!).
Your AC might just be old and running on its last leg. You can have a specialist stop by to assess your unit. That way, you can determine if you need a new one or just small repairs.
Here are a few tips to get your HVAC system ready for summer.
Go ahead and set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Setting it lower adds three to five percent per degree to your cooling costs. Instead, turn on those ceiling fans to keep your home cool.
6. Improve Energy-Efficiency
Old windows might let more light in than you realize. This can heat up your home while causing sun damage to your valuables.
Meanwhile, choosing energy-efficient windows and doors for your home can keep the summer heat from making an unwanted appearance.
According to ENERGY STAR, switching to qualified windows can save a household up to $465 a year.
Check the condition of the weather-stripping around your windows and doors. You can also improve your home’s energy efficiency by removing any apparent leaks.
Otherwise, all the cool air within your home will sneak outside.
This can cause a boost to your energy bill as well.
With energy-efficient products throughout your home, you can save money and reduce the risk of heatstroke.
7. Keep Up-to-Date
Keep up-to-date with what’s going on outside. The daily weather forecast can help you determine your plans for the day.
If it’s going to be extra hot, plan for fun activities indoors. That way, your kids can enjoy their summer vacation inside. Meanwhile, you’re reducing the risk of heat-related emergencies.
Plus, keeping apprised of the weather forecast can help you plan for fun outings! If it’s going to be a hot day outside, head to an indoor pool or local museum instead.
That way, you’re still making the most of your family’s summer vacation.
You can also remain in-the-know with these signs you need a new HVAC system.
8. You are What You Eat
What you eat throughout the day can help prevent heat-related emergencies, too.
Try to eat small meals, with more meals throughout the day.
Cool foods can help, too. These include:
- Pasta salads
- Potato salads
These foods are filling without warming you up. Using your stove or oven too often during the day could also add unneeded heat to your home. Instead, try using the microwave when you can.
Adults should also avoid drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages. These drinks are diuretics and will increase the odds of dehydration.
9. Take a Break
If you’re working outside on your garden, take breaks as often as you can. When you’re feeling warm, step into the shade or head back inside. Don’t forget to keep your water bottle with you!
It’s also important to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Grab a big hat, too. This will keep you from attracting the heat.
Plus, it’s a lot more comfortable when you’re working under the sun.
10. Schedule It Right
If you plan on exercising outside, schedule it right. Instead of a lunchtime job, try exercising early in the morning. You can also head out after the sunsets.
For outdoor get-togethers, plan for a starlit dinner instead of a picnic or outdoor BBQ.
That way, you’re avoiding the scorching sun and the heat-related emergencies it causes, too.
Too Hot to Handle: Preparing for Heat-Related Emergencies
With summer’s temperatures on the rise, it’s important to start preparing for the heatwave today.
That way, your house is cool and comfortable—the perfect escape from the summer heat. This guide will help you respond to any heart-related conditions, too.
Now you know exactly what to do when those temperatures start to spike. With this guide, you’re prepared and equipped to handle any heat-related emergencies.
Contact us today to discuss preparing your home for this summer’s heatwave.