Most of the time we think of air conditioning as providing comfort from Atlanta’s high heat and humidity. But during a heat wave, AC can be a lifesaver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat kills more than 600 people in the U.S. each year, mostly from heatstroke. What’s more, the frequency and intensity of heat waves are expected to increase, making reliable air conditioning essential for any Atlanta home.
Know the 3 Danger Signs of Hazardous Heat
Without AC, the heat index in your home can reach the low 90s or higher during a heat wave. Under these conditions, we can no longer properly regulate our body temperature (the same goes for pets!), and we can literally overheat. Elderly people and people with chronic health conditions are at particular risk.
Whether indoors or out, it’s important to know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses – and what to do about them.
- Heat cramps: These painful muscle cramps are usually brought on by strenuous activity. It’s important to replenish lost fluids and sodium by drinking juice or a sports drink and to rest.
- Heat exhaustion: The signs are fatigue, weakness, or dizziness. In more severe cases, excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting, or paleness may also be present. Along with resting and rehydrating, anyone experiencing these symptoms should get into air conditioning, if possible, or take a cool shower or bath. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke.
- Heatstroke: When your body’s mechanism for cooling itself becomes overwhelmed, your temperature can rise to 104° F or higher. Signs of heatstroke include confusion or an altered mental state, nausea, red and hot skin, inability to sweat, a throbbing headache, and/or fainting. Heatstroke can be fatal, so it’s important to call 911 immediately and to cool your body down with cold compresses.
Take Steps to Stay Safe During a Heat Wave
The best protection from dangerous heat is properly functioning air conditioning. That’s why we recommend an annual AC tune-up and inspection. There’s no better way to ensure you’ll stay safe – and comfortable – when the next heat wave hits.
But what do you do if you lose power during a heatwave and can’t run the AC? There are a few measures you can take:
- Sip water regularly even if you aren’t thirsty.
- Keep windows and doors closed to reduce the flow of heat into your home.
- Close curtains and blinds to block out heat from the sun.
- Soak in a cool bath or apply cool compresses frequently to keep your body temperature from getting too high.
If you have doubts about the reliability of your AC system, contact us today. One of our experienced Comfort Zone techs will inspect and repair your air conditioning unit, so you’ll be prepared to weather the next round of extreme heat comfortably and safely.