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How to Stay Cool During a Heatwave?

Published: January 11, 2022

How to stay cool during a heatwave?

Extreme temperatures are on the uptrend. Heatwaves are becoming longer and occurring more often. The capital cities in Australia are experiencing intense temperatures than usual. Bushfires, drought and heatwaves are ravaging the nation. Adapting to rising temperatures is crucial. Over the past 100 years, heatwaves have killed more people than any other natural disasters combined.

There are far-reaching consequences of extreme weather on the planet. It affects humans, animals, the environment and the economy. People who do not have access to air conditioning, elderly, chronically ill people, socially vulnerable and isolated communities are at risk from extreme heat events. We need to come up with accessible and sustainable strategies to mitigate the effect of heat.

So how do we cope with the rising temperatures?

Professor Ollie Jay can help. He works in the field of Human Thermoregulatory Physiology at the University of Sydney. Professor Jay and his team are conducting research on the best ways to cope with the heat.

A lot of public health advice is based on old wives tale without any scientific backing. He aims to debunk the myths associated and also find out ways to cope with extreme temperatures.

Specially Designed Climate Chamber

A specially designed climate chamber with air conditioners, fans and heat lamps can stimulate the hottest, driest and humid conditions across the continent. The study aims to determine the effect of heat on human beings and the ways to stay cool during extreme conditions.

Researchers can connect the test subjects to medical equipment and determine their body’s response to the temperature changes. A special ingestible pill is given to the subject which measures the body’s core temperature.

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What the study has found so far?

Our feet can act like radiators so simply plug them into cold water to reduce your core body temperature.

Fans can be quite effective for cooling - the airflow can make the sweat evaporate faster and create a cooling effect. However, once the temperature goes up to 45 degrees, fans can accelerate body heating.

Myths

According to the study, some health advice has a negligible effect on us staying cool. They might help you stay cool for a short period but there won’t be a measurable effect on your body temperature.

  • Sucking on ice cubes
  • Keeping pillowcase in the freezer before going to bed
  • Eating protein-rich food

Beat the Heat

  • Splash water on your arms, neck and legs to aid the sweating and evaporation process. It will help you cool down faster.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration
  • Use fans to let the air flow disperse your body heat and keep you cool

References

  • https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/9901f6614a2cac7b2b888f55b4dff9cc.pdf
  • https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-10/scientist-says-some-heatwave-advice-based-on-old-wives-tales/13039604

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