Tips and Tricks for Surviving Heat Waves

Here’s the stuff we take for granted down here in a place where we have three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall.

1.  Drink water.  If it’s 90-plus and humid, drink.  And I don’t mean “casually sip from a bottle of water.”  No, I mean drink until you can literally feel your stomach being full of water.  First, you need the water.  Second, it takes a lot of energy to make water hot — meaning that while you’re using that water, it’s keeping you cool inside.

2.  Get in the water, hose yourself off, run through sprinklers, etc.  This should be obvious.  Wet hair is no sin in a heat wave.

3.  If you’re stuck in a house with no A/C that’s built for withstanding northern winters, get a tub and sit in a foot-bath.  You can shed a lot of heat through your feet.

4.  Don’t take cold showers!  All that does is feel good for a couple of minutes and then kill you as you get back out into the heat.  Instead, take a cool shower, and then a really HOT shower.  Let yourself dry naturally — you’ll have prepped your body for the heat, and the evaporation will keep you cool.

EDIT:  I have just been correctly bitchslapped for not being dramatically more clear.  What is written above in #4 is written on a comfort basis.  When it comes to hot-weather survival,however, it is amazing how irrelevant comfort is.  So if you are in danger from the heat, rather than simply irritated by it, take cold showers — hell, buy a bag of ice and take an ice-water bath, if that’s what it takes to drop your core temperature.  #4 will raise your core temperature and make you feel more comfy — fine under some circumstances, deadly under others.  Cold showers and ice-cube baths will make you feel MISERABLY HOT when you come out of it… but your survival odds will be dramatically improved.

5.  Go to your drug store.  Get a refreezable ice pack, like you use on sports injuries.  In fact, get half a dozen if you need to, and put them around your neck or in the small of your back while you drive.  Getting stuck in a traffic jam when it’s 100 degrees out means you’re now trapped in a metal-and-glass box on what’s probably 105-degree asphalt with no shade.

6.  As a minor aside, never water your plants during the daytime when it’s hot.  All you’re doing is steaming them to death as the water evaporates.  Wait until nightfall, and they’ll thank you.

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  1. celogomama

     /  July 18, 2006

    Thanks for #5… hadn’t thought of that. I do not look forward to the brownouts they are predicting. 5 really hot kiddos are *not* fun without A/C (Although, truth be told,we are on coop electric, which did not get hit by the last brownout.)

  2. Mike

     /  July 18, 2006

    1 quart of water an hour if you are physically active. Use the buddy system, watch out for each other. Use sun screen and shade. EAT!!!!!! (this is not the time to try and sweat off the weight, you will die).

    We have been running around in the full battle rattle here at Fort Chaffee and I am freaken HOT. This is coming from the guy who was in Iraq for a year. The humidity is a killer. We had to use a heliocopter to evacuate 2 soldiers who were going into shock from the heat. And we had 1 soldier (not in our lane) who is in a coma with a core body temp of 106 degrees. They were drinking and eating and staying in the shade and so on. Its that bad in the heat.

    But I got to see a 2 star general chew ass on a 1 star general because he didn’t see the need to have a soldier stay with the coma-tized soldier because he is unconsious and the other soldier would “miss training”.

    We have had units loose 50% of there strength from the heat. We have dust on the trails that is so bad we have to have 300 meters at least between vehicles before we can see.

    But (rumor has it) I just might be back in Texas. I have been refused a COTTAD extension for Iraq by the Texas Guard. But I have been offered one for the Border mission. We will see where that goes.

  3. Mike

     /  July 18, 2006

    Oh, forget the mist idea. That’s a bad thing. You don’t cool your core body temp down, just the surface temp. So you don’t know how bad you are and you can literally go until you drop dead. US Army Basic Training found out the hard way.

  4. Yeah, I used to laugh at the heat index until I did the math on perspiration mechanics and realized that not very far over a 100 degrees with 100% humidity, the human body no longer CAN perspire…

  5. Zathras

     /  July 18, 2006

    1)Actually, the asphalt can exceed 150 degrees.

    2)A condition with both 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity would be catastrophic, but they probably have never been reached together. This would give a heat index of 199 degrees. Today in Dallas during the extreme 105 degree heat the humidity was under 30 percent.

    Sorry. Just science nit-picking.

  6. Regarding #2, I’ve been in 99/99 during a hot spell in the Chesapeake Bay Area… I still remember my twin and I laughing because both numbers on the weather sign were the same (this was the early 80s, the sign used programmable light-bulbs).

  7. Zathras

     /  July 19, 2006

    What you saw must have been wrong. The world record dewpoint ever seen is 93 degrees.

    At 99 degrees actual temperature with a 93 degree dewpoint the relative humidity would be 83%.,0,3983323.framedurl?coll=wgntv-weather-4

  8. Hey, I was 11. I ain’t gonna argue over the local weather dudes 24 years ago…


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