Recent record-breaking heat waves just a sign of what's to come

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The heat wave that ravaged the southwestern United States and Europe was one of the worst in decades. Not only did it set record high temperatures, but roads buckled, brush fires blazed, mailboxes melted, planes were grounded, and scorpions clamored for swimming pools. It was so hot some motorists even drove with oven mitts to avoid second-degree burns. 

According to experts, this is all just a sign of what’s to come. So whether you recently braved the heat, or were watching the weather channel from afar wondering what exactly 120 degrees feels like -- Here is what you need to know for the next inevitable heat wave. 

Heat illness is a serious matter. More than 9,000 Americans have died from heat-related causes since 1979. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nausea, muscle cramps, excessive sweating, and feeling dizzy are all signs that you have heat exhaustion and you should get to a cooler place and drink some water immediately. If that skin turns dry and hot, your pulse is rapid, you develop a headache, and you STOP sweating - you’re probably experiencing heat stroke and should call 911. 

But there are plenty of ways you can prevent these symptoms from ever occurring in the first place no matter how hot it gets. 

-Stay hydrated (even if you don’t feel thirsty). You should also avoid drinks with caffeine

or alcohol. 

-Turn on the air-conditioning. If you don’t have AC in your home, try to spend the hottest 

hours of the day in businesses that do. Shopping malls, movie theaters, and libraries are 

all good spots to beat the heat. 

-Step away from the stove and have a salad instead. There’s no need to make things 

hotter than they have to be.

-Limit your usage of lights and electronic devices. They all radiate heat, and every little 

bit helps. 

-If you’re going to be active, limit your fitness to the early mornings or late evenings.

-Use the cooling power of water. Take a dip in a pool, jump in the ocean, or take a cold 

shower. 

-Take advantage of the body’s best cooling spots. Try pouring cold water or wrapping a

 damp bandana over your neck, wrists, temples, knees, or ankles. 

-Don’t just think of yourself in the heat. Be extra mindful of children, the elderly, and your 

pets. Whatever you do, don’t leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. 

According to a recent study, as reported by Forbes, heat waves will be more frequent and will occur over a much larger portion of the planet because of climate change.

Currently, one in three people on the planet experience at least 20 days per year of heat and humidity associated with deadly heat waves. If greenhouse emissions continue at their current pace, that number will rise to three in four by the year 2100. 

Fortunately, there’s hope. Despite President Trump’s intention to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, nearly 200 countries are staying the course. Doing their best to limit the planet’s rise in temperature to two degrees Celsius.

Business Insider reports that the United States isn’t out of the fight completely. Eleven states, along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have formed the United States Climate Alliance.-- 

Promising to uphold the Paris Accord and to take aggressive action. 

However, according to a recent report published by Mission 2020 -- the year 2020 will be a turning point on whether we can curb global warming. 

The good news is that global emissions have plateaued and there has been a global boom in renewable energy. The bad news is that we aren’t moving fast enough according to Time.com.

 

Quite simply, we have a decision to make. We’ve been ignoring the warning signs for decades, but Earth needs an answer now. If we don’t take action soon, combatting deadly heat waves won’t be an inconvenience --It will be a way of life. 

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