How to behave during extreme heat

High summer temperatures are already in full swing, but several more heat waves are still ahead of us. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and familiarised with the most important instructions on protecting yourself from the heat and all the sequelae that heat waves can cause, especially heat stroke

What happens inside our body during extreme heat?

  • Blood vessels expand (vasodilatation), which lowers the blood pressure;
  • Changes in blood pressure can cause feeling of weakness and black-outs;
  • The heart beats fast, and this can lead to a heart attack;
  • Circulating blood volume decreases, and the blood becomes thicker, which can cause thrombosis;
  • By cooling the body, i.e. sweating, fluid and electrolytes are lost from the body, and intense sweating can cause heat cramps and exhaustion;
  • UV radiation can cause the formation of malignant neoplasms on the skin (e.g. melanoma);
  • UV radiation can cause the development of cataracts


How to behave during extreme heat?

In times of great heat, i.e. during the summer months, it is important to be careful and duly protect the health of yourself and your loved ones. It is necessary to take adequate measures, such as:

  • Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – this primarily concerns persons that run a higher risk of a heat stroke;
  • Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day;
  • Drink enough fluids, i.e. still water or low-calorie drinks without caffeine, alcohol or sugar. It is important to hydrate continuously, not just when feeling thirsty;
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothing of light colours and natural materials. Do not forget to use headwear (hats, caps) and sunglasses;
  • Instead of fewer larger meals a day, eat several smaller meals rich in fresh vegetables and fruits;
  • Shower with lukewarm water, and you can also apply cold compresses;
  • If you work or train outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade and drink more fluids – 1.5 glasses every 30 minutes ;

It is also important to adjust the temperature of the space where you are staying:

  • It is advisable to keep the room temperature below 32°C during the day and 24°C at night;
  • During the day, close the windows and lower the blinds, especially those facing the sun;
  • Close all artificial lights and turn off as many electrical devices as possible in your home;
  • At night, open as many windows as possible so that fresher night air can enter your home;
  • In extreme heat, you can spread around wet towels, but be careful because this increases air humidity;
  • When air conditioning the room, make sure that the desired indoor temperature is not lower than outdoor temperature by more than 7°C;
  • Electric fans are best used in the evening to enhance fresh air circulation;
  • Choose the coolest room to stay in.