In the Deep South right now, it’s all about the heat. Otherwise known as the season of year when you step outside and immediately become exposed to a sauna, which I experienced in Mississippi.

If you grew up in a location that is particularly hot, you may believe you have discovered all there is to know about surviving the heat. But you haven’t read this article yet! I’m sure I can surprise you at least once, right?

Even people who are used to working in the heat all day can become seriously ill during that first heat wave, when the temperature and humidity suddenly rise 5–10 degrees or higher. Imagine being forced to be outside after a calamity or while stranded in the bush with no means of air conditioning.

Hmmm. Very Interesting.

4 surprising beat-the-heat facts

  1. Even if the fan feels nice, it may not be cooling you. When your core temperature reaches 90 degrees Celsius, fans become ineffective in cooling you. Some individuals believe that by blowing hot air on you all the time, fans make you hotter. So don’t rely just on them to keep you cool.
  2. Heat rash is both unpleasant and dangerous. It obstructs sweat glands, making it more difficult to cool down. It clogs up sweat pores, preventing them from functioning normally. So if you happen to get one, take care of it.
  3. Exhaustion can unexpectedly lead to a stroke. Heat exhaustion might gradually, silently turn into heatstroke, or the symptoms of the two illnesses may overlap. And heatstroke is sometimes deadly—regardless of what you do. As a result, it’s critical to be aware of the early signals of heat exhaustion and take immediate steps to cool down.
  4. You might die before you realize you’re too hot. Confusion is one of the first indicators of heat exhaustion. If this happens, you may not notice you’re becoming heated. As a result, keep a buddy on hand. A friend could detect this and provide better advise as to what should be done about it.

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact emergency services if they’re available: dizziness, disorientation, a fast heart rate, or rapid breathing. If you can’t get expert assistance, here’s a link to read about additional signs and what you should do.

What’s Worse?

Head-to-head heat comparisons

1. Which is worse for heat: a humid or dry climate?

Answer: Both.

Humid climates are more humid because the more moist the air, the slower it evaporates. Because sweat cools you down as it evaporates, a slower evaporation rate causes you to be hotter.

The south is the worst environment for heat illness, because sweat evaporates faster in hot weather. That’s fine for cooling you down, but it can quickly dehydrate you. Get plenty of water.

2. Which is worse: staying in a steady, high temperature all day or going inside periodically for a rush of air conditioning?

Answer: Staying hot is worse.

If you have access to an air conditioning system, use it. That is one of the most efficient methods to overcome the heat. Some individuals may believe that being cold then hot isn’t healthy. But staying cool is most essential. And there’s nothing like a nice blast of air conditioning to make you feel better.

The Classics

The intriguing reasons behind some classic tips

The tip: In the air conditioning, please.

The reason: People have lived thousands of years without air conditioning, so we can probably do the same. Yes, but people died as well (and constructed homes differently, etc., but that’s a different story).

Air conditioning is one of the most efficient methods to cool down. And, regardless of how in shape they are or how much they’re used to being outside, anybody can succumb to the heat during a heat wave. That’s because the body must gradually acclimate to hot temperatures, and a powerful heat wave prevents this.

If you’re using a fan, place ice in front of it to create a stronger breeze.

Consider visiting the mall or a city “cooling down” area if one is available, if you don’t have air conditioning.

The tip: Take frequent breaks in the shade.

The reason: The more you put in, the more heat your body generates. You’re operating your own little furnace. (This is why you’re advised to do the heavy lifting first thing in the morning and last thing at night, ideally before noon and after six o’clock.)

Don’t put it off until you think you need a vacation. You may already be too late.

The tip: Go jump in a lake.

The reason: Your body cools down as water evaporates off it. However, if the water is colder than the air temperature, it provides a delightful cold treat. Instead of taking a dip, you could dampen your head with lukewarm water or take a warm shower instead. Some people advocate wearing a ice-cold wet bandanna around your neck.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny/Pexels

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