United States

Beat the Heat: Easy Ways To Stay Cool And Prevent Heat-related Illness

As summer begins, the Northeastern United States is experiencing extreme heat due to a "heat dome," a weather phenomenon trapping hot air under a high-pressure system.

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As summer is officially here, the Northeastern United States is facing unprecedented and sweltering weather conditions due to what meteorologists have termed a "heat dome." This phenomenon occurs when a mass of hot air becomes trapped beneath a high-pressure system, creating prolonged and intense heat.

Steve Bender, a meteorologist from FOX Weather, explained, "Not only is it going to be hot, it’s going to be stagnant conditions. You’re not going to have any kind of breeze that will cool you off."

Currently, this heat dome is baking cities like New York, with temperatures expected to remain punishingly high throughout the weekend.

To combat these extreme conditions and prevent heat-related illnesses, experts emphasise the importance of cooling down your body quickly. Craig Heller, a professor of physiology at Stanford University, highlighted the vulnerability of humans to heat, stating, "As mammals, we live close to the thermal edge of life and death."

Reducing core body temperature is crucial in preventing heat illnesses. One effective method is applying cooling techniques over large areas of the body. According to Ollie Jay, a thermal physiology professor at the University of Sydney, pouring cool water over the body or placing a cold towel on the chest for short intervals can significantly lower the core temperature.

If immediate immersion or a cold towel isn't possible, focusing on cooling the limbs, such as hands and feet, can also help. These body parts have high surface areas relative to their mass, making them efficient at dissipating heat.

Frederic Klein, from the American Red Cross Greater New York Region, outlined symptoms of heat-related illnesses, which range from heat cramps and heavy sweating to more severe conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. He stressed the importance of hydration, finding cooler environments, and recognising when to seek medical help, particularly if symptoms escalate to heat stroke.

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