How to survive a heatwave

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How to survive a heatwave

For the first time in years the UK is experiencing a heatwave! Whilst most people are enjoying the sunshine you still have to take precautions when the hot weather hits. We take a look at the best ways to stay safe and what to do if you get into trouble during the hot spell.

The Dangers

Excessive heat is very dangerous to humans as its pushes our body beyond its acceptable limits by forcing the body to work extra hard to keep itself at its normal temperature. Most problems occur when a person is over-exposed to heat, meaning that those most vulnerable in a heat wave tend to be young children, the elderly and the unwell. Over exposure can be fatal!

What to do

Surviving a heat wave with begins with recognising that you and your family are at risk during a period of prolonged heat and knowing what to do to lessen its effects. You should keep an eye on all of the people you are responsible for any signs of heat exposure.

Before a heat wave hits, say in the winter months it is a good idea to prepare your home for the impacts a heat wave can create. You could install temporary window reflectors and air conditioning units.

Wear appropriate clothing. Indoors you should wear loose clothing and to wear as little as modesty permits. When outdoors however it is important that you cover up to prevent sun burn. Wear loose fitting clothes but ensure that your face and head are covered. Avoid wearing heavy cloying materials such as polyester as your sweat will ensure that you cook in the humid air.

Stay indoors as much as possible and keep the sun out as best as you can. During the hottest point of the day make sure you are inside, if you don’t have air conditioning go to a public building that has one. The swimming pool may be a good stop also. If you live in a two-story house make sure you stay on the ground floor as heat rises making the upstairs a sauna. If you have a fan or fans, use them and keep the inside doors open to circulate the air. Ensure all windows and outer doors are closed and any windows covered by curtains. You must do what you can to keep the suns heat out of your home. At night when its cooler open all doors and windows.

The most important point of all. Keep yourself hydrated! Avoid consuming alcohol, coffee and heavy foods as these all lead to dehydration. Make sure you drink more than you think you need, often as not your body is using up water quickly by producing sweat. If you’re sweating a lot, be quick to replace water and lost salts and minerals. Fruit juice and sports drinks are good for this.

A good tip is to breathe through your nose as it leads to less water escaping through the mouth. It helps to keep the body hydrated for longer.

Symptoms of heat illnesses

You need to know the symptoms of heat related illness; it could be the difference between life and death!

Heat exhaustion is a serious condition and should be treated as soon as possible.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include, Cool clammy skin, extreme fatigue, weakness, Nausea, Dizziness, Vomiting, fainting, thirst and a pale complexion.

Heat stroke is an emergency condition that must be treated immediately.

The symptoms of Heat stroke include, Red, flushed skin, a body temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit, seizures, extreme headaches, rapid breathing, and fast pulse, lack of sweating, confusion, and unconsciousness.

Treating heat stroke

Be sure to memorise these tips as they could save someone’s life. Upon noticing the signs of Heatstroke react quickly as the victim may not know that there is anything wrong with them.

1. It is imperative that you take action to cool the victim down, if possible get them indoors and into a bath tub of room temperature water, since heatstroke normally occurs outside you may need to get a little creative.

2. It is vital that you re-hydrate the victim by giving them water, make sure the water does not contain ice as if the water is too cold then the victim could go into shock.

3. Make sure the victim does not gulp down the water as it can also lead to shock, tell them to drink slowly.

4. Make sure to keep the victim conscious do not let them faint!

5. If they do not respond to the above points call the emergency service immediately or get them to a hospital.

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