We’ve talked a lot over the past few months about the benefits of air conditioning. It’s a marvelous invention, and we’re saying that not as an AC maintenance company, but just as people who enjoy living in a cool, comfortable home.
But as fantastic as air conditioning is, we can’t take it everywhere. And when you’re spending time outdoors during the dog days of summer, staying cool becomes as a matter of health and safety as well as comfort.
With that in mind, we’ve put together these tips for staying cool in hot weather.
Who’s at risk for high heat?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are two things affecting our ability to keep cool when the weather gets really hot:
- High humidity – When humidity levels get too high, sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, preventing your body from releasing heat.
- Personal factors – Things like age, obesity, heart disease and drug/alcohol use can determine whether we’ll be able to cool off in hot weather.
Among the people who are at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses are those over 65, children two and under and people who have chronic diseases or mental illnesses.
So, what are the signs of heat-related illnesses?
Common heat-related illnesses include dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Let’s look at how you can spot all three.
- Feeling tired
- Loss of appetite
- Bright or dark yellow urine
Treatments – Drink plenty of water, get someplace cool, and use a spray bottle to cool yourself down.
This condition is the body’s response to losing water and salt in the form of sweat. It affects people working or exercising outdoors – along with older people and those with chronic diseases and can turn into the more serious heat stroke if left unchecked.
- Heavy sweating
- A fast, weak pulse
- Fast, shallow breaths
- Pale skin
- Cramps or muscle weakness
Treatment – Get to a cool place, preferably with air conditioning and take small sips of cool fluids and remove excess clothing.
If possible, take a cool bath or shower, or put cool packs under your armpits or the back of the neck. Seek medical treatment if symptoms worsen or remain unchanged.
This is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the body temperature gets too high. Seek immediate first aid when symptoms occur.
- A sudden spike in body temperature
- Red, hot and dry skin with no sweating
- A dry, swollen tongue
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- Intense thirst
- Vomiting or nausea
- Aggressive/bizarre behavior
- Loss of consciousness
Treatment – Dial 911 right away. Get the person into the shade and keep them as cool as possible. Do whatever you can to bring their temperature down. Give them small sips of cool fluids if they are conscious and able to drink.
How can I stay cool if I need to stay outdoors?
One of the best ways to stay cool in hot weather is to head indoors, ideally to some place with air conditioning. But for people who have to stay outdoors, you can stay cool by:
- Drinking cold drinks
- Eating cold meals like fruits and salad
- Wearing light-colored, loose clothing made of natural fibers like cotton
- Staying out of the sun as much as possible
- Wearing sunscreen and a hat
- Trying to do outside work earlier or later
What if I’m playing sports?
If you or a loved one is playing a sport that takes place outdoors, take these steps to protect yourself, your loved one and any teammates against the heat:
- Practices and workouts should happen earlier or later in the day when temperatures are lower
- Keep an eye on teammates’ conditions, and have them do the same to you
- Watch for the signs of heat-related illness described above
We recognize that you can’t spend all your time indoors when hot weather comes. At the same time, health experts agree that getting to a cool, air-conditioned place is vital when things get too hot outside, or if you’re exhibiting signs of a heat-related illness.
Make sure your home is cool and comfortable as summer reaches its zenith by contacting All Seasons Comfort Control. Our heating and air repair technicians can perform regular AC maintenance on your HVAC system, ensuring that you and your loved ones remain safe and happy.