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How to Remain Safe During a Record-Breaking Heatwave

Climate change is causing surging temperatures across the world. It is vitally important you know how to remain safe. Find out how you can remain comfortable and safe during heatwaves.

July 2022

Summary:

  1. Years of environmental abuse mean temperatures of 40 degrees could cause danger to life across the UK over the coming days. These temperatures could sustain or even rise if more is not done to combat climate change.
  2. People must aspire to drink water rather than fizzy drinks to ensure their body remains as hydrated as possible.
  3. Plot your home to have cooler areas; remember that open windows could have a detrimental effect and bring in warmer air. Fans will only circulate the warm air around them. Look to place cold water/ice in front of them to ensure they circulate cooler air. 

Everyone loves to make the most of it when it comes to hot weather, especially if you find yourself in a usually cold or wet place, such as certain parts of the UK. In the UK, Britons expect to experience the most extreme heatwave on British record, with temperatures in England potentially reaching 40 degrees over the coming days. 

This blog is for when things become too hot. It will analyse:

  • the most efficient ways to remain cool,
  • how to keep normalcy amid unusually high temperatures,
  • what to do if problems arise from the heat and
  • how to spot heat-related illnesses before they become life-threatening. 

 Why is This Extreme Heat Caused?

Before we investigate how to combat the intense heat, we must first answer why it is happening. Simply put, this is one of the purest examples of the effects of climate change. Countless years of air pollution and environmental neglect have led to this point. There have been numerous warnings about how the heat, we are only now beginning to experience, could affect everyday life. Now those warnings are becoming a reality. 

Experts refer to extreme heat as a silent killer, citing it to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 2,500 people in the UK in 2020. Sadly we can only expect these numbers to grow as temperatures continue to rise. Scientists have suggested, that temperatures could reach 40 degrees every three to four years by the end of the century if not enough is done to combat climate change. 

Unfortunately, we now find ourselves reacting to the after-effects of environmental abuse. Let's look at how we can react to limit the effects of a heatwave on ourselves to remain safe.

 Remain Hydrated, It's Vitally Important!

Seemingly the most obvious but, without a doubt, the most important. When bodies are exposed to extremely high temperatures, they need as much hydration as possible. Water is what the body needs. One of the biggest mistakes people make is substituting water for fizzy drinks, believing any liquid replenishment is good for their bodies. That may have been the case before, but now it is a different story. With temperatures growing,  your body needs the purest form of hydration. The incumbent heatwave is proof that these high temperatures are here to stay. Water is proven to be the most hydrating drink for the human body. 

Utilise your kitchen tap. If you have ice cubes, even better. You must drink more water if you experience light-headedness, headaches or fatigue. 

 Persevere to Make Your Home Cool

For the UK, these temperatures have the potential to reach a record-breaking high. As much as we would like to live normally, there is a genuine danger to life if the temperatures reach their peak. It may not sound cool, but everyone must tweak their lifestyle over the coming days to remain safe. This begins with your home. 

Lots have been said about whether windows should be open or closed. It ultimately comes down to whether the temperatures outside will be hotter than inside your house. We can comfortably say temperatures will be - therefore, we suggest keeping your windows closed. Homes are designed to keep heat in. Consequently, you want to keep the heat out. During any heatwave, windows can have a detrimental effect, allowing heat in. Having one or two windows open can be beneficial, but try to place yourself away from those places. 

Fans are another hot topic. We recommend you only use fans if you have a bowl of cold water or ice in front of the fan. The thinking behind this is that fans only circulate the air around it. Like windows, fans can have a detrimental effect if they don't have cold air to circulate. Therefore we recommend having plenty of ice trays available.

 Stay Updated: Keep on Top of the Forecast

You can't expect to be constantly indoors during the entirety of a heatwave. There will come times when you will need to venture out for specific reasons. The key is to venture out during down periods in the forecast. Don't just rely on one weather news source; try to accumulate as much information from as many sources as possible and plan any movement on any dips in temperature. 

If you can find a point where temperatures are lower, you must still treat the weather respectfully. Wear sun cream, drink plenty of water and try to find shade. Little has been said about the effect of heat on travel. For example, if temperatures do reach 40 degrees, it could cause tarmac to melt. Try to park your car in a place with maximum shade. The heatwave could, indeed, cause your vehicle to overheat. 

Because we are entering a phase where we can experience heat that we have never felt before, we must be proactive about how to protect ourselves and the items important to our lives. When it comes to your vehicle, find shade and utilise it. 

 What to Do If Someone Feels Unwell

As explored above, heat can be hazardous, and the incumbent heatwave has been labelled with a red warning, meaning a potential danger to life. There is a possibility that people you know could become ill as a result of the soaring temperatures. Therefore, you must be aware of any potential signs that something may be wrong.

 A. Heat exhaustion

What to Look For:

  • Dizziness or tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Cold/clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps

How could you support if someone has symptoms:

  • Move the person to a cooler place immediately
  • Ensure the person is sipping cold water
  • Either prepare a cold bath or ask if they want wet or cold clothing

You MUST seek medical attention if:

  • The vomiting continues or intensifies
  • The symptoms last longer than one hour
  • The sufferer develops confusion

 B. Heat Cramps 

What to Look For:

  • Muscle pain/cramps

What to do if someone shows symptoms:

  • Stop any physical activity and move the sufferer to a cool place
  • Have the sufferer drink a cold drink

You MUST seek medical attention if:

  • The cramps last longer than one hour

If you want more information on how to remain cool and safe during extreme heatwaves, we recommend contacting your GP, doctor or local medical institution. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Drink plenty of water, avoid fizzy drinks and excessive physical exercise.
  2. Consider whether open windows and fans will make your home cooler. Remember that placing cold water/ice in front of fans, will ensure it circulates cooler air. Try to only open windows that could bring in cooler air.
  3. Learn the ups and downs of the weather forecast. Plan any travel on the downs and try to ensure any vehicles are parked in the shade.

 

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