Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In summer, heat waves can strike areas of the country where cooler climates
are the norm. In these areas, many homes do not have air conditioning, and
surviving in the extreme temperatures becomes a challenge for everyone. The
following steps can help you keep cool during a heat wave even if you have
an air-conditioned home.
Use box fans and ceiling fans
to promote air circulation throughout
your home. Opening doors in the house and using box fans to push hot air
outdoors can function as an "exhaust" system and draw cooler evening air
into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows and promote as much
air circulation as possible. When the sun rises, close all doors and
windows, making sure to close curtains and blinds as well, to keep the
indoors cool for as long as possible. When the outside air cools to a lower
temperature than inside (usually in the evenings or at night), open up the
windows and turn on the fans again.
Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Fill buckets or basins and soak your feet. Wet towels and
bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Take
cool showers or baths, and consider using a spray bottle filled with cold
water for refreshing spritzes
throughout the day.
Head downstairs. Since hot air rises, the upper stories of a home
will be warmer than the ground floor. A basement can be a cool refuge from
the midday heat.
Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can
generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat
fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.
Remember to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which means
you'll need to consume more water than you usually do when it's hot. If
you're sweating profusely, you will also need to
replace electrolytes by
eating a small amount of food with your water or by drinking
replacement drinks. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration; you should drink sufficient amounts of fluids before
you feel thirsty in order to prevent dehydration.
Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, as both of these
substances can act as diuretics and promote dehydration.
For a homemade "air conditioning" system, sit in the path of a
box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice.
Try to visit public buildings with air conditioning during the
hottest hours of the day if the heat becomes unbearable. Libraries, shopping
malls, and movie theaters can all be good places to cool down.
Don't eat large, protein-rich meals that can increase metabolic
heat and warm the body.
Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and true heat emergencies (heat cramps,
heat rash, heat exhaustion, heat stroke). Call emergency services (911) in the
event of a heat emergency and
try to cool the victim until help arrives.
Finally, remember that pets
also suffer when the temperature rises. Cooling animals (dogs, rabbits,
cats) by giving them a "cool" bath or shower will help keep their body
temperature down. A cool towel on a tile floor to lay on, a cool towel or
washcloth laying over the skin next to a fan will also help cool the animal.
Make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink as well. Signs of a heat
stroke in a pet are: