Millions under extreme heat warnings Wednesday; here are 20 ways to keep cool

The high temperatures are likely to set records this week.

Parts of California, Nevada and Arizona will be under a “heat dome” on Wednesday, bringing dangerously high temperatures to the region that are expected to continue through the week.

The National Weather Service warned Tuesday that temperatures could be above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in California’s central valley, with the “heat risk” peaking on Wednesday.

Las Vegas could see temperatures topping 112 degrees on Thursday, the NWS says. A reading of 112 degrees this week “would become the city’s earliest observed 112 degrees on record.”

The heat can be dangerous, triggering serious conditions like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. It’s important to keep cool, so here are some tips to help you beat the next heat wave in your area.

How to cool off

  1. If you don’t have air conditioning, use box fans and ceiling fans to move air through your home.
  2. Open windows and doors and put the fans in front of them to push air through the house.
  3. Close windows when the sun rises to keep the cooler air in until the house heats up.
  4. Take cool baths or soak your feet in cool water.
  5. Wear light color and lightweight clothing – cotton is best.
  6. Put sheets in the freezer for a few minutes before putting them on your bed and going to sleep.
  7. Put a bucket of ice in a shallow pan and place it in front of a fan to blow cold air in your direction.
  8. Keep lights off; they heat up a house.
  9. Eat light – salads, not meatloaf.
  10. Hot air rises, sleep downstairs if possible.
  11. Drink more fluids.
  12. Don’t use the stove if you can help it.
  13. Consider purchasing cooling pillows and mattress pads. New technology helps to keep bedding materials cool.
  14. Try a mint body wash if you can find one. Mint has a cooling effect on the skin.
  15. Spicy foods can make you sweat and cool you off.
  16. Make sure your ceiling fan is running in a counter-clockwise movement. It will push cooler air down.
  17. Eat ice to cool yourself down.
  18. Try to go to a movie theater, shopping mall, library or some other air-conditioned building where you can sit down and cool off.
  19. You can find small, personal fans that are attached to cords you wear around your neck.
  20. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which can make you feel hotter and dehydrate you.

What else should you do?

  • Check on neighbors, especially the elderly.
  • Make sure your pet has water and shade.
  • If you see an animal tied up without shade and water, call 911 and report it.

How do you know if you have gotten too hot?

  • Heat cramps
  • Symptoms: spasms in the legs and abdomen, usually; heavy sweating.
  • What to do: Get the person into a cool spot; give sips of cool water.

Heat exhaustion

  • Symptoms: Heavy sweating even when skin is cool; fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and headaches.
  • What to do: Get the person to a cool place, give sips of water, seek medical attention if the person begins to vomit.

Heat stroke

  • Symptoms: High body temperature; dry, hot skin; rapid, shallow breathing.
  • What to do: This is a medical emergency, get the person to a hospital; try to cool them down by moving them to a cool place and using cool compresses to reduce their temperature.

Sources: Weather Underground; Medicinenet; The Telegraph; The Associated Press

SEE: 9 ways to protect yourself from extreme heat

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