It’s hot and humid in Richmond, and even though it happens every year, we still struggle to find ways to beat the heat. Even though this July weather can leave us feeling sticky, warm, and irritable, it’s not just about comfort. In fact, the right kinds of decisions to prevent overheating can save your life.
As the National Weather Service has warned, if the temperature rises and stays above 104 degrees for two hours or more, continued exposure to those conditions can be dangerous for your health. It might be sweltering outside, but here are five tips for staying cool during Virginia’s steamy summers.
Our bodies were designed to release sweat in order to prevent overheating. As a result, it’s very important to stay as hydrated as possible in order to replenish those fluids. It’s also best to rehydrate with water. Drinking sugary sodas or caffeinated beverages can have the opposite of the intended effect!
While drinking six to eight glasses of water per day is the general recommendation, in extreme heat, it’s advisable to have two to four glasses per hour! Be proactive, and don’t wait until you’re feeling thirsty to rehydrate. Have a water bottle within reach and sip all day.
Watch What You Eat
The hottest day of the summer is probably not the best time to sit down for a steaming bowl of chili. That will only raise your internal temperature and make you feel even more uncomfortable. Instead, try to choose foods are that cool, refreshing, and high in water content.
An easy way to accomplish this is to reach for whatever’s in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an ideal choice and can be used for meals, snacks, and desserts (watermelon in July? Yes, please!).
During a heat wave, it’s probably a good idea to just stay home and stay cool. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a movie marathon, play a boardgame, or even get some chores done. Of course, even if you have to get out of the house (little ones can get restless!) you can still explore indoor, air conditioned activities.
Visit a local museum, hit the mall, check out a movie, or head to a fast food place to splurge on a meal in a climate-controlled environment. If you absolutely must venture outdoors, whether it’s to work or something else, avoid the sun’s peak hours between 11am and 4pm.
Wear the Right Clothes
We’ve all heard the warnings — dark-colored clothes attract the heat and make us feel warmer. It’s not surprising, therefore, that it’s best to wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing during the summer, especially if we’re spending the day outdoors.
If the recent reports about sunscreen have made you nervous, wearing a hat, as well as a long-sleeved white or beige shirt in a breathable fabric, can help shield your skin. Many swimwear and leisure brands offer apparel specifically designed for this purpose that also provide SPF protection.
We’re so used to the crazy heat index in Virginia that, sometimes, we may forget the potential dangers that exist. It’s incredibly important to take the weather seriously, especially when the temperatures top 100 degrees. Things can turn tragic very quickly when we aren’t paying attention.
- Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
- Never leave pets, children, or other vulnerable individuals in hot cars.
- Avoid prolonged periods of exposure when the sun is at its strongest.
The summer heat can be an annoyance and even and inconvenience. Don’t let it be fatal. Take precautions to keep you and your family safe until the weather cools down again.
Have Your AC Serviced
Have you ever noticed that your air conditioning breaks down at the worst possible time? No amount of fanning or lemonade can replace the feeling of a cooled, comfortable home on a hot, muggy day in Richmond.
The best way to prevent this is to have your HVAC serviced, especially if you’ve been noticing issues with performance. Don’t wait for things to go wrong — remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
After more than 75 years in business, W.G. Speeks knows all about summer in Virginia. We provide a free consultation and our NATE-certified technicians will help ensure your air conditioning is running smoothly all summer long. Give us a call today!