Ways to combat extreme heat if you do not have AC
According to a recent NewsNation article, extreme heat “affects more Americans than any other weather emergency.” To help people across the nation better prepare for these unhealthy conditions and prevent heat-related illnesses and death, the government has recently launched heat.gov.
If you do not have an air conditioner, heat waves can be even more dangerous because your body has no chance for relief. However, there are several products you can buy to help you get through days or weeks of relentless high temperatures.
Why is heat so dangerous?
To function properly, the human body needs to maintain a core temperature that is between 97 and 99 degrees. Once the body drops below or rises above this temperature, it invites a wide range of illnesses. To maintain this functional core temperature, the weather needs to be roughly 82 degrees.
When the body’s core temperature rises, blood is diverted away from vital organs and directed toward the skin to help release internal heat. Additionally, the water in your skin is excreted as sweat. To evaporate, it requires energy in the form of heat. With limited blood flowing to vital organs and a rapidly diminishing water supply, your body can quickly fall into a life-threatening crisis mode.
What are the symptoms of heat-related illnesses?
Both external and internal heat can be a problem. Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated and wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing. Additionally, heat-related illnesses can have an immediate or cumulative effect on an individual. Symptoms can intensify over the course of several days.
The primary symptoms of heat-related illness are:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Mild shock
Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke
It can help to keep these two heat-related illnesses clear in your mind by remembering that exhaustion is something that builds up over time, while a stroke is something that strikes suddenly with substantial impact.
With heat exhaustion, the body becomes fatigued from trying to maintain its core temperature. An individual suffering from heat exhaustion requires help to maintain their body heat. This is accomplished by moving them to a cooler area and replenishing fluids.
Heat stroke happens when the body has lost the battle and your core temperature rises. This can happen suddenly or be the result of prolonged heat exhaustion. It is a life-threatening illness, so immediate medical attention is required. Call 911. While waiting for help to arrive, get the person out of direct sunlight and try to cool them down with whatever means is available.
What are some strategies you can employ to stay cool during an extreme heat wave?
The key factors to staying safe during extreme heat are:
- Be aware of the temperature and humidity
- Avoid going outdoors, especially for prolonged periods
- Remove yourself from dangerous environments, such as a car interior
- Wear lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking clothing
- Avoid strenuous activities
- Stay hydrated
- Wear sunscreen
Products that help you stay cool without AC
Trying to stay cool without drinking water is like trying to run an air conditioner without refrigerant. This half-gallon, insulated jug has a flip cap that snaps closed to prevent spills and a wide mouth that allows for chugging. Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
The double-wall structure of this stainless steel tumbler ensures your beverage will stay cold. It has an innovative magnetic seal that keeps the lid closed. The tumbler is BPA-free, features a no-sweat design and is dishwasher safe. Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
The easiest way to stay cool is to not let your home or apartment get hot in the first place. This blackout curtain can keep up to 99% of home-warming sunlight out of your living space, providing an impressive barrier against summer heat. As a bonus, it also dampens noise to create a more soothing environment. Sold by Amazon
When used properly, a window fan is extremely effective at either expelling household heat or bringing in cooling air. This model has three speeds, a front-mounted switch and a powder-coated steel front grill. Sold by Amazon
Circulating air can even out the overall temperature of a room. More importantly, when a breeze crosses the body, it helps with evaporation and allows you to cool down with greater efficiency. This whisper-quiet model is energy efficient and has a long-lasting, dimmable LED light. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
One of the most uncomfortable times during a heat wave is the night. Your body needs a bedsheet that allows for air exchange so you can stay cool. This luxuriously soft bamboo option helps regulate your body temperature, letting you have a more pleasant night’s sleep, even without AC. Sold by Amazon
Your pillow is another bedtime necessity that can cause more harm than good when it comes to trapping heat. This ultrasoft, gel-infused memory foam pillow helps diffuse body heat so you can have a more comfortable sleeping experience. Sold by Amazon
Ice can be used in drinks and on your body, cooling you from both the inside and the outside. This countertop machine can make up to 26 pounds of refreshing coolness every day. It features a compact design, so it is suitable for a kitchen with limited space. The reservoir reuses any water that is a result of melted ice, making the model extremely efficient. Sold by Amazon
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