Now that summer is here, we are being treated to feature stories about older adults and overheating. It’s hard to believe that human beings can exist on this planet for 60 or more years and not learn a thing or two.
We’re going to share what we have learned about dealing with 90º-plus heat and how to avoid turning on air conditioning until the very last moment. Air conditioning units use more energy than furnaces, so the less it’s on, the better. Reclining woman illustration courtesy La Aldea.
Some of this advice requires prior planning and some expense, but is well worth the effort and $$, if you plan to live there for a long time.
* Get two thermometers – one for inside and one for outside. The inside one should be in the center of the house. The outside one should be in a shady spot. You want to measure ambient air temps.
* If you have a choice of where to live, pick a place with lots of trees, especially on the West side. Get a reflective or white roof, if you can. We know – that is highly unlikely.
* Insulate as much as you can – walls and attic, especially.
* Get a fan – ceiling fan or room fan. With the ceiling fan, make sure it is not pushing the air down. A key point to recall from your physics class: HEAT RISES. Just move the air, don’t blow the hot ceiling air down to sitting level.
* The sun is your enemy. Stay out of it. “Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun.”
* At night, cool the house. Open all the windows wide. In the morning, as soon as the temperatures on your inside and outside thermometers are the same, close all the windows again.
* Close curtains or Venetian blinds, leaving enough natural light to keep your mood elevated. As evening comes on, watch the thermometers again and when you reach equilibrium, open those windows again.
* Wear skimpy, loose white or light pastel clothes. (see illustration above. :-)) If you MUST go outside, cover your head lightly or carry a parasol.
* Empty your ice cube trays into double plastic bags and put them in the freezer. Immediately re-fill and re-freeze water in the trays.Ice or cool water can be used on your head or arms or wrists or temples.
* Drink liquids. Be careful about coffee, alcoholic beverages or other diuretics – you may inadvertently become dehydrated. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of salt, especially if you have a tendency to sweat.
* Take a light nap in the mid-afternoon. Heat sucks the energy out of you.
* If you start to get hot, take a cool shower. Or, if you are lucky, hop into the nearest swimming pool or lake. Beware of rivers. See our post of a few days ago on Drowning.
* For all bodies of water, acclimate to the water before jumping in. The shock can kill you.
By following these tips, you are not likely to get heat stroke, but from the link above, here are some signs of heat stroke just in case.
If you or someone you’re with has any of these signs you should seek emergency medical care immediately:
High body temperature (over 104ºF)
Changes in behavior
Fainting or feeling like you’re going to faint
Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
Lack of sweating despite the heat
Now, get something nice to read and a big glass of water and relax and enjoy. Summer will be over before you know it.
Don’t worry about investing. The Greek “crisis” will be pushed down the road once again, IFO is betting.