Staying cool and saving during the monster heat wave

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The incredible heat wave continues across the Midwest and the East Coast.  To temperatures pushing—or passing—100 degrees, add stifling humidity the bump the heat index over 120 in some places.  In this case, it’s the heat AND the humidity.

While our friends down in Houston are used to this, and they’ve got the air-conditioning to deal with it.  This is beyond what many people and homes and buildings in the East and Midwest are prepared for.  And the heat can be deadly. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to talk about what you can do.

We often providing cooling tips, and they’re worth revisiting.  But let’s hit a couple of important reminders for you and your home to help get through this.

Keeping your person cool

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic, and without caffeine), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink. Warning:  if your doctor has you limiting fluids or reducing water, check in with her to find your specific recommendation.  Remember, if you’re sweating a lot, you need to replace electrolytes, too.  I like a diluted sports drink (otherwise they can be too sweet).
  • If possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned space.  If you don’t have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–or the time-honored tradition of going to a movie theater.  Might be a good reason to go so Harry Potter again!  Some locals might have heat-relief shelters.  Check with your local health department.
  • Go swimming in a cool pool.  Take a cold shower or a cold bath.  (Not a hot shower or hot bath!)  Cooler water can be an excellent way to cool down your body temperature.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you’re going to be outside, try to do it early in the day or late in the evening when it’s generally cooler.  Try to avoid heavy exercise in the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control has a helpful Extreme Heat guide the offers additional details and advice.

Keeping your home cool

  • According to CDC, air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death.  Room air-conditioners can help.  And installing a central AC unit is usually done in a day.
  • Keep the heat out!  During the day, if it’s cooler inside than outside, keep windows shut.  And keep window shades down to block out direct sunlight.  Open the windows at night if it’s cooler outside than in. 
  • Fans to the outside—blowing in either direction—can help if it is cooler outside than inside.  But they’re counterproductive if it’s hotter outside.  Ceiling fans (and other fans) help you stay comfortable—but only while you’re in the room.  The fan motors actually generate heat, so turn them off when you’re not there.

Finally, children, the elderly, and the sick, are especially susceptible to heat.  Keep a close eye on them. 

Of course, contact us if you’d like more permanent, energy-efficient solutions.  But in the meantime, be safe, and stay cool.

Mike

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