First of all let’s start knowing what a heat wave is, what causes heat wave and related illness of heat wave to human life, wildlife and our environment.
The heat wave is caused by an extremely hot weather conditions lasting above 2 to 3 days, it occurs mostly in Oceanic climate countries. Heat waves poses a serious risk to human life, wildlife and environment, as it increases the risk of wildfire, according to an estimate, The World Health Organization estimates 166,000 people have died between 1998 and 2017 by comparison, and in general heat wave caused the death of 356,000 people worldwide, which makes it one of the overlooked natural hazards.
Causes of Heat Wave
The heat wave are caused due to trapped air in the atmosphere, the high pressure then moves and pushes the warm air it has produced from pressure towards the ground, the air then warms up further more as it approaches the ground which can cause a lot of hazard to the environment and even illness to our body.
Heat related illness to the body
When too much fluid or salt is lost in the body through excessive sweat or dehydration, then the body temperature tends to rise, and high body temperatures could lead to different types of illness depending on the person experiencing this changes. The centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provides a list of Warning signs and symptoms of heat related illness everyone should be aware of, which are:
Heat Cramps: The major symptoms of heat cramps are heavy sweating, spasms which occurs usually in legs and abdomen, painful muscle cramps. All these could be first signs of a heat wave illness, which may lead to exhaustion or stroke.
Heat Exhaustion: The major symptoms of heat exhaustion ranges from Weakness or tiredness, clammy skin, weak pulse, dizziness, vomiting, heavy sweating.
Heat Stroke: The major symptoms of Heat Stroke are Throbbing headache, dry or damp skin, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, confusion, fainting, loss of consciousness.
How to stay cool in a heat wave or a hot weather condition
Here are important tips to help during a heat wave
1. Keep out of the sun between 11am – 3pm: the hottest part of the day usually begins at 11am down to 3pm, it necessary you avoid the sun during this hours, if you must go out during this hours, then make sure you dress in a light cotton clothes
2. Drink a lot of water, preferably cold water: drinking a lot of water keeps your both stay dehydrated, do not drink overdose of water because of panic, that can be way more worse.
3. Avoid drinking coffee: make sure you are not drinking coffee during this periods, as coffee is known to be diuretic and can have dehydrating effects.
4. Dress appropriately: dress in light soft clothes made of cotton and shoes that won’t leave your body and feet sweating, sunglasses are also good during this time as it protects your eyes from damaging UV rays from the sun, hat can also be useful as it provides shades to your body. You can also attempt visiting the beach at your free time to keep your body system exposed to natural cold.
5. Eat foods with high water content: it’s important you eat foods with high content, which makes you sweat more. It can be fruits like Watermelon, Strawberries, Lettuce, Cucumber, etc
6. Regulate how you open your windows: one of the easiest way to stay cool is to take advantage of the temperature change while in your home, if the temperature is higher outside than inside and you open your windows, then you over heat your room, so if the windows are facing the sun, it’s better you close the curtains while the windows are open, the curtain will help filter the heat and keep your room warm.
7. Refrigerate or Freeze your bed sheets: place your bed sheets in the freezer for half an hour before you go to bed, and you probably won’t have much trouble sleeping because of the heat
8. Get a wearable Umbrella: If you must go out at the period wear the weather is hot the most, then you need you use a wearable umbrella which gives you a wide range of shades, keeping your body safe from over heating.
9. Gas Cylinders: If you have a gas cylinder at home, you might want to take it outside and insert into a water, to avoid explosion inside your home, Gas cylinders during the heat wave can be life threatening as they can blow up because of the extreme heat.
Know what to do if you’re suffering from heat-related illness
- Monitor local radio, television, internet and social media to stay updated about the heat wave condition for the day
- Using a fan to blow air can actually increase heat if the temperature is above 90s, at this point fan can make you feel hotter
- Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else is vomiting due to the heat wave, or if any of the heat wave symptoms mentioned above last longer than 1 hour