Too Hot? Fear Not: How to Prepare for Heat Waves


Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Tis the Season of Scorching

With summer fast approaching, much of the northern hemisphere is starting to feel the heat. In some places, just going for a walk outside makes you feel like you’re frying, and without taking proper precautions, heat can cause significant damage to the body, even resulting in death. Extreme heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths.

What Are the Risks?

Extreme heat is a period of hot weather with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees for at least a few days. Heat waves can also create or intensify low air quality, increasing the amount of air pollution.

With these factors combined, exposure to high heat and harmful air quality causes the body to work harder to maintain its optimal temperature. High humidity can exacerbate this effect, making our ability to sweat and self-regulate useless. This natural phenomenon is why humidity can make warm weather feel muggy and hot weather unbearable. After a certain amount of time in the scorching sun, people can overheat and experience heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, fainting, vomiting, and having a fast, weak pulse. These symptoms are your body warning you to seek a cooler environment immediately.

If heat exhaustion remains untreated, it can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition. When people are experiencing heat stroke, they have a temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit and can have a rapid, strong pulse, red, hot, and dry skin, no sweat, and may show dizziness, confusion, or cause unconsciousness. If someone shows signs of heat stroke, they are in danger and need medical attention immediately. Calling 9-1-1 or getting them to a hospital as soon as possible is the best action. Until medical professionals arrive, attempt to cool the afflicted person down with anything available, but avoid giving them fluids unless you know they are conscious enough to swallow effectively. After learning to identify the signs of heat-related illness, you can catch it before it worsens.

How can we keep our communities and loved ones safe from heat stress? How do we prepare for heat waves that can ravage large portions of the country? Fortunately, you have plenty of ways to protect yourself and others from the heat.

How to Prepare For Heat Waves

Whether you’re being extra cautious this summer or just looking to keep the electric bill down, there are tips that can keep you comfortable and safe in your home. Covering windows with shades, drapes, or window reflectors will help keep the hot sun out. Take cool or cold showers when you bathe. Use the range or oven less when preparing meals, and opt for more cool refreshing foods like chilled fruit or salads. If needed, install window air conditioner units, and insulate the area around them.

Taking these precautions will make the outdoors safer in the summer when you’re out and about or getting a walk or jog in. Never leave pets or people in a locked car on hot days. Try to schedule going out in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler. Dress in loose, light-colored clothing and provide cover for your head. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin, as sunburn can dehydrate your body. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, and be aware of cooling centers or public areas that provide air conditioning in your area. Give special attention to pets, children, and disabled or elderly individuals, as they are more susceptible to heat illness.

Don’t Sweat it, Be a Step Ahead!

With the last eight years being the warmest on record, more and more regions are tackling heat waves. This occurrence can devastate areas up north that lack the infrastructure for extreme heat, and the sweltering summers in hot and arid parts of the nation have only become more intense. Providing resources and knowledge to prepare communities for hot weather will help prevent heat-related deaths. In our changing world, this information is more vital than ever before.

Thank you for reading! If you want to learn more about how to have a fun and safe summer, look here.


We hope that this information on “how to prepare for heat waves” is useful to you.

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