How to beat the summer heat wave?

Splasing water in the summer.

Summer heat waves, especially with high humidity, bring not only discomfort but some real problems.

“In many ways,” says one doctor, “effects of heat and humidity are equivalent to strenuous exercise.”

For the unwary person, the effects of such involuntary “exercise,” coupled with vigorous work, may be one of the several forms of heat illness, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

How can you lighten your load of heat stress?

How can you keep cool when the temperature soars and humidity is high?

If one could move to a cool climate or spend all his time in air-conditioned surroundings, that would solve the problem.

But that is not possible for most persons.

They must rely to a great extent on human’s built in air conditioner.

Humans have an air conditioning body system with various ways of cooling itself.

One of these methods is the radiation of heat.

On a torrid day the body diverts up to half its blood supply from the brain and other vital organs into blood vessels just beneath the skin.

From here heat is carried through the skin and radiated into the air.

The skin’s disposing of heat much as a radiator gives it off accounts for about 70 percent of heat expelled by the body.

We also throw off heat through common breathing, and, of course, we are cooled by sweating and evaporation.

Water in the body is secreted to the outside of the skin through pores, where it is evaporated by air, giving a pleasant cooling sensation.

But when the temperature of the air about us gets near or above our body temperature ( about 98.60 F.), it is difficult for the body to radiate excess heat into the air.

And when humidity is also very heavy, even evaporation of moisture becomes difficult.

Under these, hot, muggy conditions it is important that we cooperate with air conditioning body system.

This will help us keep cool.

Helping our bodies cope

One way we can cooperate with our built-in cooling system on those hot days is to drink sufficient water.

Profuse sweating drains the body of water, so a good guarantee against heat exhaustion is to drink plenty of water.

Usually thirst will indicate how much to drink.

But there is also a built in human measure of one’s need for water drinking, and that is the excretion of urine.

Any drop in the usual quantity or deepening of the usual color shows that the person should be drinking more water.

Since it is possible for a person to lose a gallon of water from the skin and the respiratory tract on a really hot day, it pays to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

And since the sweat glands are damaged and their effectiveness reduced by sunburn, it is doubly wise to take no chances on too much exposure to the sun.

Besides water, a great deal of salt can be lost by the body through perspiration.

It is estimated that 15 grams (three teaspoonfuls) of salt is lost from the body during excessive perspiration.

Weariness or hot-weather fatigue, heat cramps, heatstroke, or even death, can result if body salt is not restored.

Some solve the problem by taking salt tablets; however, this is usually recommended only for those who perspire profusely, such as those who work in iron foundries, boiler rooms, laundries or in other very hot places.

For most persons, body salt can be replenished in torrid weather simply by sprinkling a little extra salt on one’s food.

Also, salted nuts, potato chips, pretzels or other salty snacks could be included in lunch boxes.

But if one is on a salt-restricted diet, he should check with his physician before adding salt to his food.

To help our air conditioning body system to function properly there is something that we can avoid on the very hottest days, particularly at midday.

This is eating heavy meals, especially those rich in fats.

A heavy meal will increase body heat; it will draw blood to the digestive organs, diverting it from air-conditioning work.

On the other hand, hot-weather eating should not be limited to just snacks or salads, since cutting down a great deal on food may not give one enough energy.

Salads are not likely to be nutritious enough in relation to their bulk unless they are made up mostly of protein foods, such as eggs and cheese.

Some persons avoid the after-meal logy feeling and find they sustain their energy better by eating small meals and having their meals more often during the hottest weather.

Or it may be possible to eat small meals during the hot part of the day; and then in the evening eat a good but not overly rich dinner.

In cooperating with our built-in air conditioning, it is well to remember that in temperate climates the body has to practice sweating each year to become adept at it.

Hence the first heat wave of the year may bring more discomfort than the same temperature later in the year, when perspiration flows more freely.

If you are working, say, in your garden, do not try to do it all on the first hot day of the year.

When heat waves strike, many persons find it better to do such work as mowing lawns in early morning or at twilight, rather than during midday.

If you must work hard in the sun or in an extremely hot location, especially when the humidity is high, pay heed to how you feel.

Do not ignore warning signals of heat exhaustion or heat strokes, such as nausea, dizziness, headache and faintness and blurring of vision.

If one ignores warning signs and succumbs to heat illness, unfortunately, he usually will be more susceptible to heat illness in the future.

Still another way to cooperate with your built in air conditioning is to wear absorbent, loose-fitting clothing.

Tight-fitting, non-porous clothing does not permit free circulation of air, but clothing that is light and loose fitting encourages evaporation of moisture from the skin.

With regard to color of clothing, it is true that dark colors, especially black, absorb heat from the sun and that light-colored clothing reflects solar heat.

Though colors often will not make much difference, women who wear black on the hottest days do add to their heat stress.

Other aids to keeping cool and fit

Fatigued persons are more likely to succumb to heat illness than those who are well rested.

So try to get enough sleep.

Some doctors even suggest an extra hour of sleep during hot weather.

But in certain climates it may not be easy to sleep at night, especially if high temperatures persist along with high humidity.

In such weather many persons find that they sleep better and more coolly on semi-firm mattresses than on soft ones.

Also helpful is an electric fan.

Since air in motion cools your body, the electric fan is a valuable help.

A word of caution, however, about the use of electric fans.

Some find that if a direct breeze blows continuously on them they will get the sniffles or a cold.

They find it best to direct the fan toward the wall so that the direct breeze does not chill them.

An oscillating fan is helpful in preventing continued direct drafts.

If you prefer, a fan can be used to pull cool night air into a bedroom by placing the fan about three feet from an open window, facing out.

Then open another window or door so that there is circulation and the warm air is pushed out.

Some keep cool by taking advantage of the night breezes, especially by sleeping on a screened porch on the hottest nights.

But they may get the summer sniffles unless they put a folding screen around the bed, allowing the air to circulate but keeping the breeze off.

On some occasions it may get so hot and oppressively sticky that we feel the need to cool off in some way.

Some like to take an icy-cold shower or bath.

Though this is cooling, it is followed by an afterglow, refleeting the body’s production of heat to compensate for the cold.

A shower or bath in slightly warm water will have longer,lasting cooling benefits.

It is not always convenient to take a bath, of course, but there are other things that can be done.

One method of cooling off is to dampen two face cloths in cold water.

Squeezing out the excess water.

Put them in plastic bags and then into the refrigerator.

When they are chilled, take one and apply it to your brow.

Let the other keep cold.

When the one on your forehead gets warm, put it into the refrigerator and take out the cold one, so keeping a cool forehead.

If you are really warm and feel oppressed, one of the most effective things you can do is to run cold water over your wrists or immerse your hands and forearms in a bowl of cool water.

A piece of ice held to one’s wrist helps similarly.

In one research test, a number of persons were kept in a hot room with the temperature at 105° F and humidity at 75 percent.

The subjects felt wretchedly miserable.

Then they were allowed to keep one hand and forearm in water (at 59° F) and they felt quite comfortable for long periods of time.

Such tests indicate that it is vastly more cooling to submerge hand and forearm in water now and then than it is to fan one’s face or to lie motionless in the heat.

The same tests revealed, in fact, that doing nothing or just lying in bed in a hot and humid environment not only is an ineffective way to keep cool but it may increase the body’s heat burden.

Many persons find it helps them to keep cool if they can keep their feet cool.

They know that in the winter if their feet get chilled, they feel cold all over.

So in the summer they reverse the process, and instead of keeping the feet warm, they keep them as cool as possible.

Each person will have to find his own way to cool feet.

One way, of course, is to wear loosely woven shoes that allow air to reach the feet better.

Sometimes to get relief from oppressive heat waves, it may be desirable to go to a cooler place.

A beach or park or lake may be fine.

Then again, if one has a basement room, it will likely be the coolest place in the house and one could retreat there.

Since it is not always practical to go somewhere, one may be able to keep one’s house relatively cool.

Window shades might be pulled down on the sunny side.

Light colored ones are more effective than dark ones.

When the house is cool and air on the outside is hot, the windows and doors could be kept closed, but upstairs windows should be kept open to allow warm air to escape.

Keep the use of electric lights to a minimum.

Some persons make an elementary air conditioner by putting a pan of ice cubes in front of an electric fan; the pan may be covered with leaves or flowers for appearance sake.

Yes, appearance can help you feel cool, and there are some things you might want to do in this regard.

Surround yourself as much as possible with blue-green colors; perhaps a touch of cool color in drapery or rugs.

White, lacy curtains help you feel cool.

Some persons seem cooler when they have a picture of a snow scene in the living room during the summer.

Air conditioning

The most ideal way of keeping cool is by means of air conditioning, the use of machines that not only cool the air but dry the air.

On a very humid day one may feel heat-bedraggled, listless and bored even by things naturally of interest; mental tasks become burdensome.

Thus air conditioning is increasing in popularity not only for the comfort it brings but also because it promotes productivity.

Air conditioning is particularly valuable for heart patients.

Reports indicate that on a hot sunny day the heart must work 57 percent harder outdoors in the shade than indoors in air-conditioned comfort.

Some persons, however, feel too cold with air conditioning.

For them the remedy is a simple one: Keep the air conditioner at only about 10 degrees below the outside temperature.

During the hottest weather it is wise to keep the air conditioner on all the time unless one is gone for a weekend.

It can be left on at low power.

The machine has to work harder to bring the temperature down than to keep it at a lower level once it is there.

Those who have air-conditioners do well to make certain the air filter is clean.

A dirty filter can cause the loss of as much as 50 percent in efficiency.
So there are various ways to keep cool during summer heat.

Be alert to cooperate with your built-in air-conditioner.

Also, you will feel better doing something than doing nothing.

And since tempers tend to fray easily in the heat, be on guard to keep calm.

To become irritable and heated up emotionally about sticky weather only makes the situation worse.

If you feel hot right now, why not try cooling your hands and wrists in water.

And while you are at it, take a drink of cool water.

It is an easy way to counteract the summer heat