Science Tips for Staying Cool in a Heat Wave

While staying hydrated is crucial, care must be taken not to drink too much. While you are unlikely to get to this point, drinking excessive amounts of water in a short space of time, in the order of several liters in just a couple of hours – can lead to symptoms of water intoxication, where the body cannot replace chloride lost in sweat fast enough, and in extreme cases can have tragic consequences.

How can you stay safe in the sun?

For those who need to venture outside in the heat, it’s important to wear sunscreen and apply it correctly, but also, to take other protective measures. Australia recommends the “slip, slop, slap” method, especially for children, which encourages people to “put on a shirt, put on sunscreen and put on a hat”, as well as seek shade and avoid the hottest hours. These simple steps have helped the country reduce its high rates of skin cancer.

Protecting babies, whose skin is very thin and sensitive, requires a different approach. Sunscreen should never be used on a baby six months or younger, and a child under one year old should not be exposed to direct UV rays, according to Australian sun safety experts. Instead, babies should be kept in the shade and dressed in light, loose clothing that allows airflow and a soft hat that won’t become a choking hazard. Of course, babies and children should never be left in a car On a hot day.

The dangers of hot cars

A car can heat up 11°C, or 20°F, in just 10 minutes, while children’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. In the US alone, more than 900 children have died in hot cars in the last 25 years. And it’s not just children being deliberately left in cars: It’s all too easy to forget that a baby sleeps in the back seat, especially if a routine (like who takes you to day care) has been changed.

This is why tips for prevention These include getting into the habit of checking the entire vehicle before you drive away, leaving something (such as a handbag or phone) in the back that requires you to check, and asking your child care provider to call you if your child has not arrived at your house. usual time.

Pets, especially dogs, also require special care in the heat. On hot days, they should be kept indoors or in the shade and not taken for walks or exercise; Not only can their paws burn on hot surfaces, but because they can’t cool off by sweating in the same way we can, they’re particularly vulnerable to heat stroke.

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