c to f convert

Heat, from under the heat dome, July 2021

How to beat the heat take 2.

Well, who expected THAT little heat burst?  Every year I look forward to that ONE day where it gets to 40. I love it. And then the next day it goes down to ‘reasonable’. I can handle a lot of heat, but I saw so many people really struggling this time who obviously couldn’t handle it. I thought I’d add some to last column about heat and how to beat it. In particular, how to dress for it.

( I’d love to write a column about the dangers of living in air conditioning all summer, and how it really impedes our ability to stand even a little bit of heat… but that’s another day.)

We all know how to dress for the cold. It’s time we all got smart about dressing in the heat. We’ve never had to before.

Let’s take some education from the people who live in heat like this all the time. Those who live on the deserts of the Sahara, for example. (Average high is 40. it can go as high as 47.) Clothing which covers. Made of natural fibers. No clingy stuff and not a t-shirt in sight.

First of all, I’ve said it a bajillion times,  T-shirts are sweaters and do NOT belong on our bodies in 30-plus weather. If you put one on your child, they will experience a substantial heat gain on their skin.  ON THEIR SKIN. Depending on the color of the t-shirt, that temperature difference could be as much as 20 degrees. 

( I just did a quick Google search and the big box store down the road sells 100% cotton shirts for boys for 10.00 in sizes SX to XL, online sales).

You will feel cooler if you cover your arms and legs in loose-fitting clothing made of cotton, linen or silk,

The WORST thing you can do is go outside in a sleeveless knit top and polyester shorts. You are exposing skin to the direct sun, you will dehydrate faster, and feel the heat much more than if you dressed appropriately. See the preceding paragraph.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s what the Australian government publishes for how to dress in the heat:

“Wearing clothing that is suitable for extreme heat will make a difference in how you feel and how you manage during the day.

The type of clothing you wear affects how well air can circulate over your skin, as well as allowing heat and moisture (sweat) to evaporate. If sweat cannot evaporate from your skin, then both skin temperature and discomfort increase.

The following are advice on key tips on appropriate clothing options in extreme heat.

Appropriate clothing for extreme heat

  • Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home.
  • Opt for lightweight, light-coloured and loose fitting clothing. Flowing garments allows air circulation and light coloured fabrics reflect light and heat. This will keep you cooler.
  • Use natural fibre fabrics; cotton, linen and silk work best in absorbing sweat and allow the skin to breath. Synthetic fibres retain heat and poorly absorb sweat, increasing your body temperature.
  • Avoid dark coloured heavy restrictive fabrics and clothing.

Appropriate clothing for outdoor activities in extreme heat:

Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible to protect against permanent skin damage.

Use long sleeves, pants, and skirts in a light-weight, loose-fitting fabric to provide protection for the sun.

  • Wear a well-vented, wide-brimmed hat (at least 7.5 cm width) to protect your face, head, neck and ears from the sun. Avoid peaked caps.
  • Sunglasses should be worn.
  • If you wear heavy clothes for protective reasons during hot weather (e.g. for some sports, motorcycling or work), remove them as soon as possible when they are no longer needed.”

And now I’ll get off my soapbox.

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