As summer temperatures rise, you and your family may worry about the effects of heat stroke and heat stress. If you don’t take extra precautions in hot weather, you or a loved one may suffer from symptoms such as headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, and confusion.
To take shelter from the sun, you may encourage everyone to spend more time indoors in the shady comfort of your living room or kitchen. But did you know that you can suffer heat stroke indoors as well as outdoors?
Prolonged exposure to temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the location, can cause the body’s natural cooling system to fail. If the body’s core temperature reaches higher than 105 degrees, an individual may suffer complications with the central nervous system and may even fall into unconsciousness or coma.
Fortunately, heat stroke and heat stress are entirely preventable. If you follow these easy tips, you can reduce your risks and ensure your family stays healthy and comfortable this season.
Don’t Rely on Fans Alone to Keep You Cool
Ceiling, window, and hand fans give you a refreshing breeze during the summer, and they can cool your skin by creating a wind chill effect, accelerating perspiration evaporation.
However, fans don’t effectively cool a closed room. Depending on the design, fans will increase your room’s overall temperature by several degrees, making them ineffective for preventing heat-related illnesses.
To make the most of your fans, combine them with other cooling sources. If the air outside is cooler than the air indoors, position two fans in windows across the room from each other. One fan will push the hot air out while the other will pull cool air in. Or, place ice cubes in front of your fan. As the ice cubes melt, the fan will blow the cooler water vapor throughout the room.
For best results, combine your fan with your central air conditioning. Your air conditioner will not just cool the air but it will also remove warm air from your home.
Hire a Technician to Inspect Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioners require regular maintenance and cleaning to stay in great shape. If you forget to change your air filter, or if a part fails in your unit, your air conditioner might only blow warm air rather than cool air this summer.
If your air conditioner runs for hours at a time but you never notice a change in temperature in your home, call in a professional HVAC technician to inspect your unit. He or she may need to remove dirt and debris from your outside unit, look for refrigerant leaks, or repair a broken or disconnected duct.
Do you have a unit older than 15 years old? Talk to your technician about installing a replacement. With a newer air conditioning system, you won’t have to worry about your unit failing during the hottest part of the year.
Drink Plenty of Fluids Throughout the Day
Even if your fans and your air conditioners blow continually throughout the day, your personal cooling system may have to work overtime during the summer as well.
When temperatures rise, your heart beats faster and pumps more blood, increasing the amount of blood that circulates near the skin. As a result, some of the excess heat releases throughout your skin’s surface to keep you cool.
Additionally, your body will stimulate the sweat glands to secrete more fluids. The sweat you produce will absorb heat from your body, and as the liquid evaporates, it transfers that heat into the surrounding air, leaving you cooler.
To ensure your personal cooling system works at optimum levels, your body will need plenty of fluids throughout the day. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink two to four glasses of cool water every hour.
Stay Cool and Safe This Summer
These three tips will help you avoid heat-related illnesses and keep you more comfortable during hot summer days. For additional cooling tips, don’t hesitate to talk to your HVAC technician. Your technician can recommend ways to keep your unit in great shape and can suggest home improvements that will minimize conditioned air loss.