Personally, especially in my locality, it feels absurd to carry an umbrella under the sun because first, I’m a guy – I get it, umbrellas are not gender-specific, but it seems so.
Secondly, I’m dark-skinned, “what else has the sun got on his skin.” they would say. But, the heat these days don’t help matters at all you know.
For some, the shower is enough remedy after playing catchup with nature and family during summer- tanning, camping, climbing… For other people, it is a different story. They tell stories of Heatstrokes, Heat-related deaths. A predicament that is totally avertable if you learn how to protect yourself in a Heatwave.
A report by Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that 7,415 people were diseased from heat-related deaths from 1999 – 2010. Another report by Nature Climate Change predicts that we may experience more heatwaves due to the rapid changes in climate change and its causative factors.
Heatwaves pose a lot of dangers that are avoidable if you follow these steps. You may not have a perfect summertime as you have planned, but there is always hope when there is life – so let’s focus on staying alive or rather, healthily tanned.
Know when there is a Heatwave.
If you have a country with a trusted weather forecast, you may need to pay attention to their information. Weather Services calculate the extent of a heatwave using a heat index and then warn people prior to its occurrence –
If you live in a third world like mine, where the news predicts hailstones only for the sun to cook the day, then you may need to set weather timers on your phone. Luckily, they are on every smartphone.
These warnings are vital if you plan to spend the time outdoor. But if your activities are based indoors, you can rely on these smart technologies to protect your home from a heatwave.
Know the Effects of Heatwaves.
Just like the first step to finding the solution to every problem, you need to know what heatwaves are all about, the signs, the dangers, and some of the frequently asked questions about it. Pregnant women, children, seniors, and people with certain diseases or medications are more exposed to heatwaves.
Some of the signs according to RedCross include;
Fatigue and Tiredness.
Urine appears darker.
Things You Should do in a heatwave.
Having known these signs, here are some of the things you can do to avoid these signs. You may be Nigerian, just like me, and believe the sun has nothing on you. But just so we can be clear on this, the Black-African man has a lower life expectancy and most are as a result of his misguided beleifs. Good, me too, I want to meet my great-grandchildren so here the truth – the sun has got its grievances on every skin. From cancer to aging, to sunburns, no matter the color, you have got to protect your skin.
Wear Light Clothes.
I know you just bought the cheesiest hoodies. Now is not time to wear them though. You need to stick to light clothing, particularly those with bright colors made with breathable materials like cotton. If you are confident about your body (really pays off if you are), this is time to rock those see-throughs and beach wears – speaking for the ladies though.
You dont have to visit the office with suits if you don’t have an AC, and you will be saving a lot of deodorant and detergent – I didn’t say you smell, don’t get me wrong. But also, if your boss has made it compulsory to wear suits. Please don’t lose your job because of this post.
For other countries as we will see in this blog post, it is illegal for bosses to make their workers work in locations without AC. But as a Nigerian, in a supposedly civilized country, please wear the stipulated clothing on a light cloth and take it off when you get to the office.
You must be wondering why everyone has to stress the old-time, universal therapy. Yoga asks to stay hydrated. Skincare routines incorporate it. Fitness and health specialists always ring it. Your best friends profer hydration as a solution whenever you feel the slightest headache, and even certain innovation has produced eco-friendly usable smart water bottles that can remind you to drink water according to the weather.
Well, the story never changed for heatwaves. Whether you are heading for a walk, the beach, going camping during a heatwave, going to get stuck in traffic (like in Lagos), never forget to take water along. And also remember the families who lack clean and cold water to drink at the moment – Yes, while the sun dominates, humanity still wins.
For the record, using a water bottle doesn’t take you back to kindergarten. Here are some of the coolest smart water bottles. One of them has a tracker, in case you lose it – like a kindergarten.
Avoid Strenuous Activities.
Heatwaves cause your body to lose water in a bid to maintain optimal temperature. This is not the best time to lose weight by sweating – that doesn’t work, by the way. Keep your activities minimal and stay alive to workout another day.
If outside, make sure to find a shade, wear a hat, sunglasses, or even go with an umbrella – for goodness sake, they are not gender-specific. OK, here are some umbrella options for every gender.
Take a Break with the body’s cooling points.
If you have to stay outside, always take a break from the sun and its cooking rays. You can find a shade best under a tree and away from buildings that can reflect the heat.
The body has cooling points that can help you cool off easily—one of which is on your wrists and the other on the neck. You can use cool and wet clothing on these areas when outdoors. You can also wear some of these cooling bandanas or hoodies to keep you at the right temperature.
If you cannot get access to a cooling bandana, get clothing that can absorb water, or preferably, crush ice blocks in nylon and wrap in the clothing, then use them on the cooling points.
If you are not from Africa and if you are from Africa, you should apply a sunscreen if you must be outdoors during a heatwave.
Sunscreens help to keep your skin right in the conditions as you left it last during your skincare routine and also prevent damages that can come from harmful sun rays and excessive heat. Men wear sunscreens, men can glow, don’t allow the stereotype from toxic-masculinity to burn your skin.
With sunscreen, you allow the body to adapt to dehydration better than when exposed to direct sunlight.
When choosing a sunscreen, The American Cancer Society recommends water-resistant sunscreens with SPF of 30 and above for proper protection against UVA and UVB rays. If you sweat a lot or go swimming, apply immediately and every other two hours if not.
Take care of Your Pets.
Animals like humans are also affected during heatwaves. They become uncomfortable and start to whine.
Some pets can also be uncomfortable even in an airconditioned home. The best way to help them is to get them under a shade outside, then provide them with sufficient, clean and cold water. You should also reduce taking them on a walk because the ground may be too hot for their paws.
When parking, carry your pets along with you because cars and interior spaces tend to heat up more during a heatwave. Also, leaving your pets in a car can be illegal in some countries.
Avoid Alchohol, Caffeine, and Excess Sugar.
The goal during a heatwave is to conserve as much water as possible. Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, including energy boosters and excessive sugar, will only counter the results. Stay away from them so that your heart can remain sane.
Adjust Room Temperature.
The best way of staying safe during a heatwave indoors is by using an air conditioning system. If they are not automatically regulated, you can manually set them to lower temperatures.
A lot of progress has been made on AI for home appliances, ACs can adjust with room temperature. But lets come back home, this is Nigeria, those devices cost a fortune, and just to be on the same side, I don’t even have an AC. So let us help ourselves.
If there is no AC, fans can come in handy, including these hand-held fans. Remember to fan with both hands so you don’t loose figure.
Placing a bowl of ice in front of your electric fan can also help your room cool quickly.
You can use bright colored curtains and blinds since they can reflect heat and not absorb them into the room.
If there are other tips to help ourselves, please leave them in the comment section – for the sake of humanity.
One of the effects of increased temperature, especially in rooms without air conditioning is reduced productivity.
The balance in a published report confirmed that a 1-degree increase in temperature could cause a 2% decrease in productivity for office workers. In fact, some states have enacted laws that make it illegal for employees to work in a hot environment.
Do not blame yourself or get gloomy when you don’t cross a threshold of productivity on a sunny day, rather, relax, and take things at your pace.
The majority of the cases during heatwaves were a result of negligence. If you have a sick one, a senior, pregnant woman, or any of the categories of people that can be affected during a heatwave, you should check on them more often to make sure they are okay.
What should you not do during a heatwave?
Do not engage in strenuous activity.
Do not neglect children, elderly parents, and sick people.
Do not wear heavy clothes.
Do not leave pets in the vehicle.
Do not eat foods high in protein and carbohydrates that may increase the body’s metabolism. But be sure to maintain proper nutrient levels.
If you cannot deal with negativity, stay away from the media.
Hot air rises and cool air stays below. The basement or the lower floors of the house may be your best bet for a cooler spot during a heatwave.
If you are outside during a heatwave, use public places like libraries, cafes, shopping malls, movie theaters, and cooling centers (if your government has provided one.)
The conclusion of the whole matter is to stay alive while helping others – relatives, pets and strangers – to stay alive.
Also, umbrellas and sunscreens are not gender-specific.
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