Heat waves can affect anyone anywhere and usually the people they affect the most are the ones that think they have nothing to worry about.  Some of the worst heat waves in history have occurred in locations that are not usually acciosated with heat.  For example in 1988, a heat wave hit the United States and killed between 4-17 thousand people.  Another example would be the July 2010 Russian heat wave. Early estimites show that as many as 55 thousand people died.  Both of these locations are usually not typically associated with extreme heat; however, both have suffered extreme loss of life due to heat waves.

There are two different types of temperature measurements that can be taken.  One is called “wet bulb temperature”, and the other is called “dry bulb temperature.”  Wet bulb temperature is based on the actual air temperature in combination with the amount of air moisture.  Wet Bulb temperature is usually figured by having a moist thermometer bulb that is exposed to air flow.  Dry bulb temperature is solely air temperature measured with a standard thermometer.  A higher wet bulb temperature is typically more dangerous than a high dry bulb temperature; regardless, any kind of high temperature can be dangerous.  A dry bulb temp of 100 degrees Fahrenheit is dangerous. A wet bulb temperature as low as 87 degrees Fahrenheit can be more dangerous than a dry bulb temp of 106 and a wet bulb temp of 83.

During the summer of 2015, a record setting heat wave struck India.  This heat wave temperature routinely broke 118 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is reported that this heat wave killed over 2,500 people making it the deadliest heat wave to hit India since 1998.  Heat waves tend to hit impoverished nations more than others because people in those countries do not have access to all the comfort amenities as more developed countries.

Heat Waves tend to have a larger effect on areas and countries that are at or below the poverty level.  Even in the United States when a heat wave hits, it almost always affects the areas that have less money more severely than other areas.  For example in 1995 during the Chicago heat wave that killed over 700 people, almost all of those killed were living in impoverished neighborhoods within the city.  The people who are effected were the elderly who could not afford to turn on their air conditioning and also did not want to leave a door or window open at night for fear that they may get robbed.

When you are exposed to extreme heat, your body has to work extra hard to maintain its core temperature.  One of the ways that it does this is by reallocating resources to help ensure that the body does not over heat.  However, this only works for a limited amount of time before your body begins to shut down.  When your resources are being removed from other parts of the body, your brain becomes deprived of resources.  This is extraordinarily dangerous and often detrimental to the person.

 

How to survive a heat wave:

– Use a box fan and/or ceiling fans to promote air circulation

– Use lots of water, not just drinking water but put water in buckets and place your feet in it.

– Dip your clothes in water and wrap your clothes around your head

– Stay as low as possible, hot air will always rise

– Turn off as many electronics as possible, all electronics emit extra heat

– Advoid alcohol and caffeine

– When possible, try to go to a public building that has air conditioning and remain there for a while

– Try to advoid eating protein as much as possible