Breaking News

How to Stay Cool During Heatwaves?

How to Stay Cool During Heatwaves?

Soaring Temperatures: A Growing Threat

Soaring temperatures make daily life uncomfortable and pose a serious threat to human health and the environment. Here’s our guide to navigating heatwaves effectively.

The Impact of Heatwaves

Heatwaves have far-reaching impacts, from health risks to environmental damage, including destroyed crops and increased wildfire risks. In 2019, extreme heat is estimated to have caused 356,000 deaths globally, highlighting its danger. Although estimates vary (the WHO estimates 166,000 deaths between 1998 and 2017), there’s consensus that heatwave exposure is increasing worldwide. Climate change is likely to make heatwaves more frequent and intense. The 2023 “heat dome” in the southern US was five times more likely due to human-induced climate change, with temperatures exceeding 119F (48C) and affecting 110 million Americans. Similar heatwaves in 2024 affected Mexico and the US, with climate change making these events 35 times more likely. In the US, extreme heat causes an estimated 1,600 deaths annually and strains health services.

Read more: NDMA Warns Extreme Heatwave May Trigger Glacier Burst and Floods in GB, KP

Staying Cool in a Heatwave

Avoid the Sun: Stay indoors or in shaded areas between 11am to 3pm.
Hydrate: Drink plenty of liquids but limit alcohol intake.
Eat Wisely: Consume foods with high water content like strawberries, cucumbers, and watermelon.
Dress Appropriately: Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Indoor Tips: Close curtains to block sunlight and keep windows closed if it’s hotter outside.
Cooling Methods: Use fans wisely, take cold showers, or place wet sheets in front of a breeze.

Long-Term Adaptations

Cooling Architecture: Adapt houses with wind catchers, green roofs, and trees.
Urban Cooling: Some cities use white roofs to reflect heat.
Water Areas: Utilize green and water spaces for cooling effects.

Sleeping During a Heatwave

Ideal Temperature: Maintain bedroom temperatures between 19-21C.
Bedding: Use thin sheets to maintain a microclimate around your skin.
Fans and Windows: Use fans and open windows for airflow, but beware of external noise.
Avoid Late Snacks: Late eating can elevate core body temperatures, disturbing sleep.

Health Effects of Heatwaves

Temperature Limits: The human body’s ideal temperature is between 35.01C and 37.76C.
Health Risks: Heat can lead to exhaustion, stroke, heart attacks, and respiratory problems. The elderly and those with health conditions are particularly vulnerable.
Pregnancy and Medications: Heat can affect pregnancy outcomes, mental health, and the effectiveness of certain medications.

Inequality and Climate Change

Disproportionate Effects: Climate change affects the poorest disproportionately, often along racial lines.
Heat as a Killer: Heat can be a slow killer, often unrecorded on death certificates.
Awareness and Warnings: Early warnings, like those in India via WhatsApp, can save lives.

The Mental Impact of Heat

Irritability and Stress: Heat can make people more irritable and stressed, leading to increased hospital admissions and even higher homicide rates.

Sunburn and Pain

Sunburn Mechanism: Sunburn activates pain receptors in the skin, making even lukewarm water feel hot.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration Needs: Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily, and more in heat.
Best Fluids: Milk and coconut water can be better than water for hydration.
Avoid Overhydration: Excessive water intake can lead to water poisoning.

Sun Safety Tips

Protective Measures: Use sunscreen, wear hats, and avoid the hottest hours.
For Babies: Keep babies shaded and dressed in lightweight clothes, and never leave them in hot cars.

The Dangers of Hot Cars

Rapid Heating: Cars can heat up quickly, posing a risk to children and pets.
Prevention: Check vehicles thoroughly before leaving and keep pets indoors.

By following these guidelines, you can navigate heatwaves more safely and comfortably, mitigating their impact on your health and daily life.