8 Ways to Beat the Heat

8 Ways to Beat the Heat

As the weather ebbs and flows like never before, humans are scrambling to adjust accordingly. During the summer months it seems that heat waves have gone from eighty to ninety degrees up into the hundreds making it feel like a blizzard, in reverse.

Learn to protect yourself by recognizing signs of high heat exposure (aka hyperthermia) and by using these 8 ways to beat the heat before it can negatively affect your health.

Watch Your Inner Barometer 

You may think you are able to handle the high heat index that is scorching your area but you may be surprised to know that hyperthermia can unexpectedly creep up on you. The National Institutes of Aging cites five telltale signs of ways your body may be screaming for help when the heat is too high and ways to alleviate these symptoms.

Heat Syncope – Experiencing dizziness is a common symptom of heat syncope (loss of consciousness). If you feel dizzy or off balance get to a shaded or air conditioned area immediately.

Fix: Rest in a cool place, put your legs up, and drink water to make the dizzy feeling go away. Avoid the hot sun if you take heart medication such as a beta blocker.

Heat Cramps – Your body temperature and pulse may stay the same but sudden tightening of stomach, arm or leg muscles during outdoor activity in high heat could be an indication that your body may be at risk for hyperthermia.

Fix: Rest in the shade or in a cool building. Drink plenty of fluids (especially electrolyte replenishment – see below) but not those with alcohol or caffeine.

Heat Edema – Sometimes excessive heat exposure could result in heat edema (swelling) which is often presented at the ankles. When your ankles swell it means that your heart is trying really hard to pump blood to your extremities but may be having a hard time.

Fix: Elevate your legs to reduce swelling and if blood clots are not a concern “rake” your open fingers over your thighs several times and then from the ankle up to remove built up fluid. If this does not help, contact your doctor.

Heat Exhaustion – When your body is in overheated emergency mode it will attempt to display all kinds of signs to make you change your location. These can include becoming thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You may experience excessive sweat, cold clammy skin and a rapid pulse.

Fix: Rest in a cool place and replenish with plenty of fluids, particularly ones that can replenish your electrolytes (see below). If you do not feel better, seek medical attention so as not to slip into heat stroke.

Heat Stroke – Heat stroke is the most dangerous result of excessive heat exposure. It often affects people over fifty, particularly those who are in their seventies and above however babies and those with various health issues can also be at risk.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Fainting (possibly the first sign) or becoming unconscious
  • A change in behavior—confusion, agitation, staggering, being grouchy, or acting strangely
  • Body temperature over 104°F (40°C)
  • Dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse or a slow, weak pulse
  • Not sweating even if it is hot

Fix: Heat stroke can lead to organ failure and sometimes even death so if any of these symptoms

occur, immediately seek medical attention.

Target Cooling Points

Your body actually has specific areas that can be targeted to quickly reduce overheating. Use ice

or a cold wet washcloth or paper towel to place on these points for fast relief.

These points are:

  • Front and back of the neck
  • Temple spots (outside side of eyes)
  • Inner wrists
  • Back of the knees and elbows
  • Tops of the feet
  • Inner thighs

Reverse Fan

If air conditioning is unavailable or just too darn expensive, place a fan in your window in reverse position to draw hot air out of your home. If you have an  attic fan, even better as you can open lower floor windows which will create a vacuum and quickly pull stale hot air up, out and away quickly cooling your home. In addition, installing ceiling fans can create optimal air flow to also beat the heat (plus they are great in winter to distribute warm air throughout your home).

Best Fluids

You may be told to drink plenty of water on hot days but what you may not realize is the importance of replacing lost minerals and salts. Therefore, in addition to water, make sure you replenish with beverages high in calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphate, magnesium and chlorine all important nutrients to replace lost electrolytes (minerals that assist essential bodily functions).

Some good combinations mixed into filtered water or blended (with or without ice, depending) include:

  • Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey
  • Cranberry and maple syrup
  • Coconut and watermelon
  • Strawberry infusion (let sliced strawberries sit in water overnight)
  • Tart cherry and lemon
  • Coconut, lemon and lime
  • Watermelon, ginger and lemon
  • Banana and strawberry
  • Emergen-C powdered packs

These 8 ways to beat the heat give you a good idea on how to survive scorching days. Of course always use a high percentage SPF sun protectant (look for natural alternatives to protect yourself and the environment) and never wear dark colors that can absorb heat and make you feel hotter. Overall, be careful in today’s extreme temperatures to stay safe and avoid unnecessary health challenges.