Heat waves are often welcome as a fun part of summer, but drastic weather changes such as this should be monitored and managed in the same way we would prepare for extreme snow or windchill conditions during the winter months.
Temperatures have been hitting all time highs around the world this summer. Sadly, dehydration, heat/sun stroke and numerous deaths have been reported in record numbers.
Here are some tips to keep your cool during a heat wave.
Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. This seems like a simple one, but we often forget to drink our water. If you struggle with remembering your water, set the timer on your stove or phone to remind you to drink until it becomes a habit. Fill up water bottles and make sure everyone is drinking. Have a lot of ice on hand as well.
Our daughters like playing in the pool on hot days, so we use water bottles that seal up and when they are not drinking, they can seal them up and let them float in the pool for easy access.
Much like water, it seems simple, but we often forget. Make sure everyone has their sunscreen on and are wearing hats, even in the pool. Set alarms if you need to be reminded because nursing a sunburn in the middle of a heat wave torture.
Keep it simple
No one wants to cook on hot days. Keep fruit on hand for quick snacks during the day. Stock up on sandwich meats, hotdogs, vegetables, fruit and easy items for lunch that don’t take a lot of time to make, and don’t use the stove.
Use your barbecue for dinners when possible. You can barbecue almost anything these days from meats, to potatoes, perogies, and even pizza. Round out your dessert with grilled pineapple and ice cream and stay out of the kitchen.
Take cool breaks
If you have an air conditioner, take breaks in the house to cool down your body temperature. If you don’t have an air conditioner, basements are the coolest place in the house. If your heat wave is going to last, consider moving your TV and/or gaming consoles to the basement.
Bring out the treats
There is never a better time to enjoy a popsicle than during a heat wave. Icy treats can cool kids down and keep them hydrated. You can also make your own frozen treats as healthier options that kids will still gobble up.
Keep your pets safe
The heat can harm our furry family members just as easily as us. Have cold water available both inside and outdoors, and keep it full. Monitor your pets to make sure they aren’t staying in the sun too long and fill a jug with cool water to pour over your pet on hot afternoons. When possible, encourage your pet to find shady spots to lay down or have them cool off inside.
Pets like summer treats too. Try this pupsicle recipe (frozen treat for dogs) for a cool treat on a hot day.
Plan your time accordingly
If you know the afternoon is going to be hot, plan outside activities for the morning or evening and leave the hottest hours of the day for indoor or air-conditioned activities. Spray parks, swimming, checking out your local lake can be done when it’s hot because you will have somewhere to go to cool off if needed.
Check on those around you
In the chance that a heat wave takes a desperate turn, consider your nearby neighbours and family members. Do you have any elderly neighbours who might need some help? Their family members may live too far away to properly check in. Call, text, or drop by to make sure that they are okay and don’t need anything. We are all stronger together so check in on anyone near you that you may be concerned about.
Invite neighbours over for an impromptu pool party, or have a BYOB or BYOM (bring your own meat) event and get the barbecue going.
Seek medical help
If you or someone you know shows signs of dehydration, heat stroke, or sun stroke, get medical advice immediately. If you have a local number (Health Links) to call, pick up the phone. If you don’t, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have exhausted all other options, head into the emergency room for assistance. Health issues that arise from heat can be serious and can lead to death.