Anti-heat advice: shade, water, no cold shower!

[Mise à jour le 17 juin 2022 à 14h41] An early heat wave hits France. You have to be very careful. The heat tires the body, she may be responsible for dehydration even of heatstroke. She is still more difficult to bear when it lasts several daysespecially if the temperature remains high at night, but also when it is wet (sweat does not evaporate) and there is no wind (the water vapor remains “stuck” to the skin). Without forgetting the atmospheric pollution which adds its effects to those of the heat. List of cessential tips for withstanding the heat and avoid any accident.

How to protect the body from heat?

  • Loose, light, bright clothes: Prefer cotton, which allows air to pass through and absorbs perspiration
  • Drink regularly without waiting to be thirsty, mainly water, squeezed fruit if necessary.
  • Never alcohol. Avoid sodas and other sugary drinks. Avoid drinks with high caffeine content (diuretics)
  • Use a fan and fogger : first mist the exposed parts then ventilate the wet parts with the manual fan. To repeat as many times as you want, as soon as you are dry.
  • During the hottest hours, rest in a cool place.
  • Take cool but not cold showers because the body would otherwise produce energy and heat to warm it up. Cold showers should also be avoided as they can cause thermal shock.
  • Cool off and get your body wet (at least face and forearms) several times a day
  • Prefer raw fruits and vegetables and cold dishes for meals (salad, gazpacho…).
  • If cooking is necessary, avoid cooking in the oven so as not to be exposed to heat.
  • Limit physical activity as much as possible
  • Avoid all effort: sport, gardening, DIY
  • Postpone what is urgent in cool hours,
  • If an activity is mandatory: never in the sun.
  • Wet your T-shirt and cap before putting them on, let them dry on the skin and repeat the process.
  • You can also spray yourself with water, regularly, if you have to work.
  • Wait for the evening for a walk “in the cool”.

How to protect the elderly from the heat?

  • Elderly people are particularly vulnerable in hot weather. They must :
  • Spend several hours a day in a cool or air-conditioned place
  • Regularly wet the body to lower their body temperature (wet cloth, wet glove on the face, arms, neck, mist on the face, etc.)
  • Drink enough (about 1.5 liters of water, i.e. the amount of water they are able to eliminate) without waiting to feel thirsty
  • Eat enough (if necessary by dividing meals), to provide the mineral salts necessary for the body.

How to protect babies from the heat?

Heat quickly exposes infants and young children to dehydration which can be severe. During a heat wave:

  • Keep children in a fresh atmosphere and discover them.
  • Never leave children alone in an overheated place, a poorly ventilated room or a car, even for a short time.
  • Offer to drink regularly and plan to carry sufficient quantities of water when travelling.

How to protect your house from the heat?

  • Lower blinds exposed to the sun and raise them at sunset to circulate the air.
  • Close the windows and blinds during the day on the sunny side. They can be left open on the shaded side if this allows drafts. If so, hang a damp towel to cool the room. If drafts are not possible, leave everything closed.
  • Open the windows in the evening when the sun has set and the outside temperature has dropped.
  • Leave windows open at night if possible to create drafts.
  • If the house cannot be cooled: plan to spend several hours a day, every day, in a cool place, close to your home and identified in advance (shops, air-conditioned cinema, .

TO REMEMBER IN CASE OF HIGH HEAT:

  • If you have flushes of sweat when drinking a glass of water, if you have not urinated for more than 5 hours or if your urine is dark : drink immediately even if you are not thirsty.
  • If you have cramps, headaches, nausea, unusual tiredness after direct sun exposure, go to a cool place, drink, stop all physical activities, spray yourself with water and ventilate yourself.
  • If you feel well-being by putting your forearms under a trickle of water : increase the wetting and ventilation of your skin.
  • In case of emergency, call center 15 immediately.

Sources:

Heat wave and high temperatures: launch of the seasonal watch and reminder of the actions to be taken by all. French Public Health. June 10, 2022.
Recommendations for populations in case of heat. Ministry of Health. 2021

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