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Heatwaves in Pakistan: How to Stay Cool Both Inside and Outside your Home

Heatwaves in Pakistan: How to Stay Cool Both Inside and Outside your Home

Heatwave is not just very hot weather; it is very hot weather coupled with high humidity (depending upon where you live) for an extended period of time. 

Recently, heatwaves have started to arrive much earlier than expected. For example, in many parts of Pakistan, temperatures expected during a particular month, now reach that level a month early. In short, May feels like June, etc. 

Heatwaves can be dangerous and even fatal especially for the vulnerable like the elderly and children. In 2018, more than 60 people died in Karachi alone due to heat-related illnesses. This is the reported number; the actual number must’ve been higher.  

In this blog, you’ll find tips on how to survive the current and upcoming heatwaves in Pakistan. You will also find information on how to tell if someone has been affected with heat stroke and its treatments. 

Here’s how to stay cool inside and outside your home. 

Heatwave: Causes

Now that you know what a heat wave is, you need to know what causes it. So briefly, heatwaves are caused by:

  • High pressure systems developing over a particular area
  • High pressure systems are slow moving
  • They can persist for days and weeks
  • Due to this, heat stays trapped in the area and cannot exit

This was the simplest way to explain what a heat wave is. 

Heatstroke: Symptoms and Treatment

Exposure to a heat wave can result in many medical complications, heatstroke being the most common.

What is heatstroke?

Simply put, when the body overheats and its temperature rises to 104F or higher. But the human body reach this temperature during the winters too? In that case, it won’t be considered heatstroke. Heatstroke happens during the summer months only when the body is exposed to high temperatures over a long period of time.

Heatstroke must be taken seriously as it can damage the following vital organs if remain untreated:

  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Muscles

Symptoms

If you suspect heatstroke, look for the following symptoms:

  • High body temperature
  • Unusual behavior – Confusion, irritability, seizures, slurred speech
  • Headache
  • Racing heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Flushed skin
  • Nausea

Prevention

Heatstroke is preventable. The following steps should help you prevent it. These tips are equally effective to help you stay cool inside your house:

  • Clothing must be lightweight and loose fitted
  • Avoid going outside but if you have to wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Stay hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty 
  • Take cool showers 
  • If you’re on medication, be extra careful. It is better to not leave the house during the day
  • Never leave anyone inside the car. This goes for both children and animals (pets). 

Treatment

Prevention is better than the cure but once it happens: 

  • Call 1122 or medical emergency at once and in the meanwhile get the person indoors or under shade
  • Remove extra layers of clothing
  • Bath the person with cool (not ice cold) water or turn on the fan or AC; whatever which can lower the temperature
  • Leave the rest for the professionals 

These are some tips on how to avoid heat stroke and what to do if someone is suffering from it. Now, let’s talk a bit about how to stay cool inside – how to keep your home insulated from heat during intense summer months. 

Heatwave: How to Keep Your Home Cool during Intense Summer Heat

Staying inside is preferred but during the long, scorching summer months, homes tend to turn into ovens. So, one must be mindful of this fact too. 

The following tips should help you bring the heat down to bearable levels:

  • Close blinds and curtains – Curtains were invented to keep the sunlight from entering into the room. They later became a must-have accessory. 

Pro Tip→ Make sure the color of your curtains and/or blinds are white. White, more than any other color, reflects the sun.

  •  Go for LEDs rather than standard bulbs. This is for both lesser heat emission and energy consumption. However, keep the lights off when not in use.
  • Avoid using stoves. Instead, use microwaves. Better yet, cook outside if possible or eat cold meals. 
  • In addition to keeping doors and windows closed and locked, make sure there aren’t any gaps. This is to prevent cool air from escaping.
  • In addition to not running the appliances during the day because they generate heat, make sure not to use cloth and dish washers, and dryers. However, if you need to, go for the shortest wash cycle and dry clothes outside. 
  • Make sure to clean your AC filter every two weeks. Your AC will run smoothly and consume less energy.

To buy an AC online, visit OLX Pakistan’s website.

No AC? No Problem

Not everyone can afford to buy an AC. And even those who have them, can’t afford to run them for extended periods of time. So what to do? Here are some nifty tips and tricks to help you stay cool on a budget:

  • Make your own “AC” – Sit in the path of a pedestal fan which is directed at a pan filled with ice.
  • Move downstairs – Upper portion is always hot because hot air rises. So, it is advised to move downstairs. However, if you have a basement, that’s the best place to be during the summer months. 
  • Electronic appliances generate heat. So use them only if you need them. Otherwise turn them off. The same goes for incandescent light bulbs, as mentioned above. 
  • Cool showers and baths. Also soak your feet in cool water. Use wet towels and handkerchiefs, etc. 
  • Air circulation is the key. During the evenings, open all windows and doors and turn on the pedestal and exhaust fans to push out hot air. In the morning, when it starts to get warm, close all windows and doors, also curtains and blinds.  
  • Spend the afternoon in the nearest shopping mall.
  • Avoid over-eating and protein-rich meals. They can increase the body temperature.
  • Avoid cooking as much as possible. Instead eat fresh fruits. 

Beating the Heat in the Long Run

What you’ve read so far is more of a quick fix than a long term strategy. However, these heat waves aren’t going away and the way things are will only increase in the coming time. So take a look at the following tips:

  • Plant trees
  • Make use of insulation sheets and tiles
  • Add awnings or some sort of a shade over windows
  • Use insulated glass windows with low-E coating 
  • Replace your roof with light colored roofing or cool shingles 

These were some of the many tips, tricks and ways to keep yourself cool during the heatwave. You will also find some useful tips in this blog to keep the inside of your house cool to beat the heat during long summer months in Pakistan.

Let us know if you’d like to share some invaluable tips with your fellow readers here. 

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