Despite the abundance of ‘wet gyal’ and ‘wet man’ out there, The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (MET Office) issued a heat spell alert for this country. According to the MET Office, for the remainder of this week, Trinidad and Tobago is expected to experience “excessively” hot conditions.
“These high temperatures can be hazardous to health, especially for persons who may be particularly vulnerable to heated conditions, such as older or frail persons, persons with long-term or serious illnesses, young children and disabled adults who may need help responding to the heat,” the Office added.
Here’s how you can stay cool in the heat:
Cut down on soda, coffee, and alcohol
You will thank us for this one later. Like a sponge to the spilt juice on your counter, soda, coffee, and alcohol will suck the moisture out of your insides. This includes all caffeinated drinks. So although you’re tempted to pick up a cold beer to cool down and relax, it’s better to stock your beverage inventory with water.
Coffee and alcohol are diuretics, which means they contribute to urine output, increasing the risk of dehydration. In hot weather, this action drains the body of important fluids when we need it the most. Research from the American Physiological Society found that using soft drinks to rehydrate actually worsens dehydration and increases kidney injuries, compared to plain water.
Keep your internal temperature low
Temperature regulation plays an important role in our survival and among all our body parts, our feet are crucial in maintaining a healthy internal temperature throughout our body. Our feet have a large surface area and special blood vessels, which allow for increased blood flow. In addition, they speed up the release of heat from the body.
How can you keep your feet cool? Take advantage of the cooling power of water.
Before the heat becomes unbearable, try filling buckets of basins with cool water to soak your feet in. Wrap your feet in wet towels. Apart from your feet, these can also be used on your shoulders and head. Take regular, quick showers with cool water. Some people also fill a spray bottle with cold water for refreshing spritzes as the day heats up.
Under normal circumstances, it is vital to stay hydrated. A heat spell ups the ante significantly, which means you will need to consume more water than you usually do. Do you drink less than enough water on a regular day? Guess what, there’s an app for that. Try downloading iWater or Daily Water to customise how often you’re reminded to gulp that H2O.
If you’re sweating a lot, replace those electrolytes with water or fruits and vegetables high in these minerals. One of the major roles of electrolytes is to ensure that fluid levels inside and outside your cells are balanced. Stock up on apples, bananas, corn, beets, limes, lemons, oranges, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes, just to name a few.
Prevention is better than the cure. Drink sufficient amounts of fluids before you start feeling thirsty in order to prevent dehydration.
Dress for the weather
In addition to avoiding dark colours, opt for lightweight cotton clothing. This is the best option in high temperatures. No need to dress for a day at the beach just to go grocery shopping, but remember that sweating can cause dehydration and makes you more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Remember the animals!
While wiping away your beads of perspiration, remember that animals also suffer when temperature rises. Your pets will need you to give them cool baths to help keep their temperature down. Lay out a cool towel for them on the floor to lay on, give them plenty chilled water to drink, and refrain from keeping them in hot cars or trapped in hot rooms for the entire day.
In this hot wet season, it’s important to be able to recognise the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and emergency situations, e.g. heat cramps, heat rashes, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. We hope that these tips help reduce the side effects of the heat spell and enable you to live more comfortably as the climate changes.