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Protecting yourself during heat waves Thumbnail

Protecting yourself during heat waves

I’ve always found the local weather to be the best part of the nightly news. The weather has always seemed interesting whether it is here or somewhere else. But I don’t remember summers being this hot or rainstorms being this strong. The weather has changed and we need to change our behavior, too. Here are a few tips.

Bring a jug of cool water everywhere

Heat waves are one of the top causes of weather-related deaths. With the heat waves we’ve already seen this summer, 2023 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest ever. If you have to be outside, be sure to pack an insulated jug of water packed with ice. My son who is coaching volleyball to teens this summer never goes anywhere without his water jug. It may be tempting to bring ice tea, soda or some other sweetened drink but when it is really hot, your body just needs plain water. As you get older dehydration can sneak up on you because your body is less able to cool off. So, drink lots of water and be sure it is cool, too.

Skip your marathon training when its 90+

If you can avoid physical exercise during the hottest time of the day, that can help. In some places, workers are now starting earlier and then taking a four hour break in the middle of the day and then returning to work. So, if you have to go, go early or late when it may be cooler. Even if you are just out having fun in the sun, take it easy during the day.

On the water

In the summertime, I look forward to relaxing and having fun with friends or family. Each summer, we spend one week at Wells Beach, Maine and another on a lake in New Hampshire. When you are by the water, you need to take extra care. The sun dries you out but the reflections off the water magnify the sun, too. And if you bring a cooler full of liquor, the alcohol can dehydrate you even more.

When I took my NH boating license class many years ago I learned that the combination of being out in the sun, reflections from the water and alcohol can cause one to feel the effects of alcohol much quicker and more significantly than having a drink in the winter. Take it easy on the booze and drink in a glass of water between every drink to stay hydrated.

Wear a hat

Your head can get pretty hot in the sun but a hat with a broad rim can cut down on the heat. Of course, if you’re going to be out in the sun, avoid 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are most intense.

Loose, light clothing can be more comfortable and provide better ventilation to help your body cool off. Sunscreen is an obvious choice, too.

Use fans or air conditioners

If you have an air conditioner or central air, take advantage of it. If you are in a place where a/c is not available, bring a fan. Fans are great even if you are outside at a party. They can help keep away mosquitos (the most effective bug repellant in some studies). Before we remodeled which eliminated our deck, we brought a box fan out on our deck to keep the air moving an bugs away. If you are traveling, you can bring a small rechargeable fan with you.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast

With weather apps these days you can get real-time predictions on when a big band of heavy thunderstorms may be on their way. Use that to your advantage. While it is more likely that you’ll get struck by lightning than win the lottery, please don’t put that rule to the test. Find shelter inside or, if no shelter is available, go to a low point away from tall trees. However, standing up in a big field is not a good idea. You don’t want to be the tallest object or standing next to one in a lightening storm. If in the water, get out and wait 30 minutes after it passes before re-entering.

Summer in New England is such a precious time of year but don’t let the heat or a bad storm send you to the emergency room--besides the wait at the ER is long!

In the meantime, have a great summer and stay cool!

If you have your own tips about how to stay safe during extreme weather events, let me know and I’ll plan to share them in an upcoming blog.

If you have other questions, give me a call. I’m here to help. You can schedule a quick call with me by clicking HERE.

Lyman H. Jackson



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