Beat the Heat and Stay Cool with These 10 Easy Tips During a Heatwave

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Beat the Heat: Stay Cool and Safe with These Ten Life-Saving Tips During a Heatwave
Tourists in Nong Khiaw during the summer season (photo: Tiger Trail Travel)

Most of Laos is now experiencing soaring temperatures hovering between 35 to 40 degrees. Staying safe and cool during a heatwave is important to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. It is especially important to look after vulnerable individuals like the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions.

To ensure your well-being during a heatwave, here are ten ways to stay cool and protected:

1. Stay Indoors

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that it is important to avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day during summer because the sun’s rays are most intense at that time. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion, which can cause symptoms like dizziness and fatigue. Staying indoors, especially in air-conditioned spaces, or going outside during cooler parts of the day such as early morning or evening, can help prevent the above health issues.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Woman drinking a cup of water (photo: iStock)

According to British Red Cross, to avoid dehydration, drink lots of water throughout the day to replace the liquids lost through sweating. Signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, confusion, and headaches. If it’s not treated, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. To replace the lost salts, sugars, and fluids, drink plenty of water and sports drinks that don’t have caffeine.

3. Avoid Intense Physical Activities

Doing strenuous physical activities outdoors during hot weather can make one experience heat stress (when sweat is unable to evaporate fast enough to keep the body adequately cool) and dehydration.

If you need to take part in any strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day to prevent heat-related illnesses, reduce the risk of muscle cramps, improve performance and endurance, and improve the quality of sleep.

4. Limit Your Alcohol

Consuming alcohol in the summer can excessively stimulate your heart, leading to shock or even death. It can also affect your quality of sleep.

Additionally, drinking alcohol in hot weather can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, cramps, and heat stroke.

5. Never Leave Kids and Pets in Parked Vehicles

A boy looking outside from a car’s window (photo: Depositphotos)

It is not safe for kids and pets to be left alone in parked vehicles – even on cooler days in the summer. This is because the temperature inside a car can quickly become too hot for them to handle. Even cracking a window open won’t make it safe. It is especially risky for young children because their bodies are not as good at regulating temperature as adults. So please take extra care when traveling with your children and pets during hot weather.

6. Use Sunscreen Regularly 

UV rays cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer, but sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can provide a barrier to UV rays. Choose a sunscreen suitable for your skin type and activities, and apply it generously every two hours. Protecting your skin with sunscreen is crucial in maintaining healthy skin and preventing skin cancer.

7. Wear Comfy Clothes

When the weather is hot, it’s important to wear clothing that is comfortable and loose-fitting to help air circulate easily around your body. Thick and tight clothing can cause you to sweat excessively and feel uncomfortable, especially in the heat.

You may also consider wearing clothing that is specifically designed to block UV radiation, such as UPF-rated clothing.

8. Cool Yourself With Fruits.

Woman eating fruit in the kitchen (photo: Freepik)

Consume fruits that have cooling properties, such as watermelon, oranges, and pineapples, as they help to regulate body fluids and lower body temperature. These refreshing fruits are also rich in antioxidants and can satisfy your thirst. However, it is advisable not to consume frozen fruits, and it is better to eat them during the day, preferably on an empty stomach or when feeling hungry.

9. Maintain Your Body Temperature.

During hot weather, taking measures to prevent excessive sweating and maintaining a comfortable body temperature is important. Ways to cool down quickly include taking a cold shower and using a towel moistened with cold water to wipe your face and body. Keeping the body temperature stable not only reduces discomfort but also helps you conserve energy and avoids health issues associated with extreme heat exposure.

10. Know Your Risk

If you experience symptoms like dizziness, weakness, or dehydration during a heatwave, move to a cool place, measure your body temperature, and rehydrate with water or fruit juice. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist. For heat cramps or severe symptoms like delirium or unconsciousness, call a doctor/ambulance immediately for medical assistance.