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The Quad: After last week’s record-setting heat wave, some tips for the next one

(Creative Commons photo via Pixabay)

By Aneesh Gowri

Oct. 29, 2017 4:45 p.m.

If melting icecaps, massive hurricanes hitting everywhere from Puerto Rico to Ireland and expansive wildfires consuming large swathes of California haven’t convinced you that climate change is real, the heat wave this past week may have done the trick.

California experienced a harsh heat wave during the last week of October for the first time in decades. While the rest of the country celebrated sweater weather and pumpkin spice, Californians spent the week in tank tops and shorts, armed with Hydro Flasks and flip flops.

This year’s heat wave broke all kinds of records, coming in at one of the hottest weeks for Californians. Downtown Los Angeles hit 104 degrees Tuesday, breaking the previous October record of 96 degrees set in 1965. On Wednesday, the thermometer hit 100 degrees, breaking the 96 degree record from 1983.

Our Los Angeles Dodgers beat another record Tuesday. When the first game of the World Series began Tuesday afternoon, LA was a scorching 103 degrees, beating the 94 degree record from 2001 for the hottest World Series game. Despite the heat, the Dodgers scored a win in their first game against the Houston Astros. Unfortunately, like the heat wave, the Dodgers’ advantage disappeared, leaving them at a 2-1 deficit against the Astros.

While you might be enjoying the cooler weather following last week’s heat wave, if you’re looking to stay cool when the next one comes around, follow these tips:

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

The most important thing to remember when it’s this hot is to stay hydrated. The general rule is to drink half of a gallon of water per day to keep your body healthy. Also, to stay hydrated after a workout, try a glass of cold milk instead of water. While water tends to actually dehydrate you after strenuous activity, milk’s balance of fat and protein replenishes your body.

Sunglasses, Hats and Sunscreen are Essential

We might not always realize this, but sunglasses and hats can be an effective way to beat the heat. Hats offer shade and protect your face from direct exposure to the sun. Additionally, sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation, preventing the development of cataracts and other retinal issues. Sunscreen is an absolute must. Apart from acting as a layer of defense against sunburn, sunscreen will help prevent you from developing skin cancer later in life.

Avoid the Heat

Try to avoid walking around campus or back to your apartment between 12 and 3 p.m. These tend to be the hottest times of the day and excessive exposure to heat can lead to fatigue. Also, try carpooling with your roommates if they have a car, or taking a Lyft or Uber together to save a few bucks. For everyone living in classic residential halls without AC, you might want to invest in a fan to keep your rooms cool.

To all the new students, congrats on surviving your first California heat wave. I promise there will be many more to come.

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Aneesh Gowri
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