Laatst bijgewerkt op augustus 7, 2023

As the scorching sun continues to bear down, parts of Arizona, Californië, and Texas are facing an especially dire situation with the current Southwest heatwave.

A heatwave is an extended period of intense hot weather, often accompanied by high humidity.

These extreme conditions can be hazardous, particularly for vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, young children, and those with pre-existing health conditions, and pets.

Ice cream melting due to heat
Heatwave survival tips and safety guidelines.

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A heatwave is a weather event where the temperature remains excessively high for an extended period, making the days and nights uncomfortably hot.

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the number of heatwaves worldwide has increased by at least 10 times since the 1960s. This is likely due to climate change, which is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm. As the Earth warms, the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, which can lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves.

During a heatwave, the heat becomes more intense, and the air may feel heavy and stifling.

It’s important to be aware that these conditions can have serious health implications for people and pets alike.

Why is it important to take precautions during a heatwave?

The soaring temperatures of a heatwave can lead to various health problems, ranging from heat exhaustion to more severe heatstroke. Aanvullend, dehydration is a common risk during such extreme weather.

Taking precautions during a heatwave is crucial to safeguard our well-being and protect ourselves from potential heat-related health issues.

Who is most at risk during a heatwave?

Certain groups are at higher risk during a heatwave. Seniors, young children, and individuals with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of extreme heat. It’s essential for them to take extra precautions and stay cool. Bovendien, our furry companions are also at risk, and special care must be taken to keep pets safe and comfortable during this scorching time.

Tips for staying safe during a heatwave

1. Stay indoors as much as possible:

Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities, especially during the peak heat hours. Staying indoors allows you to escape the scorching sun and reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses.

2. Choose cooler times for outdoor ventures:

If you must go outside, plan your activities during the cooler parts of the day, like early mornings and evenings. Op deze manier, you can avoid the intense midday heat and lower your chances of overheating.

3. Dress appropriately:

The best clothing items to wear in a heatwave both allow your body to breathe and offer some degree of protection from the sun.

Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing to help your body regulate its temperature better. Losse kleding zorgt voor een betere luchtstroom, while light colors reflect sunlight, keeping you cooler.

4. Blijf gehydrateerd:

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, ook als je geen dorst hebt. Opt for water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration. Proper hydration helps your body stay cool and prevents heat-related illnesses.

5. Cool off regularly:

Take cool showers or baths to reduce your body temperature. Refreshing showers provide immediate relief from the heat and help you feel more comfortable.

6. Use fans or air conditioners:

If available, utilize fans or air conditioning to create a cooler indoor environment. Fans circulate the air, making it feel cooler, while air conditioners provide a controlled temperature to beat the heat.

Check out this list of powerful fans that cool like air conditioners and can help you cope with a heatwave.

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Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower Fan - Fans that cool like aircon for heat waves
Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower Fan

Honeywell QuietSet Tower Fan

Vornado 184 Tower Fan

Vornado 660 Air Circulator
Fans that can cool a room like a air conditioner

7. Check on vulnerable individuals:

Regularly check on elderly neighbors and relatives to ensure they are coping well with the heat. Offer assistance if needed and ensure they are staying hydrated and cool.

man holding blue kodak camera and sunscreen
Wear a hat, lightweight clothes and plenty of sunscreen if you are heading outdoors during a heatwave. Photo by Wendy Wei on

Tips for specific groups

Children and babies

Keep babies cool by taking them for cool baths or walks in the shade. Babies are more sensitive to heat, so it’s essential to provide them with ways to stay cool and comfortable.

Dress babies in light, loszittende kleding. Light fabrics allow their skin to breathe and prevent overheating.

Make sure babies are drinking plenty of fluids. Hydration is vital for little ones, especially in hot weather, to avoid dehydration.

Pregnant women

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Pregnancy increases the body’s demand for water, and staying hydrated helps regulate body temperature.

Avoid strenuous activity. Pregnancy can already be physically demanding, and engaging in intense activities during a heatwave can be overwhelming and risky.

Listen to your body and take breaks if you need them. Pay attention to signs of fatigue or discomfort and rest as needed to avoid heat-related issues.


Stay indoors as much as possible. Seniors are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, so it’s best to limit their exposure to extreme temperatures.

If you must go outside, do so during the cooler hours of the day. Early mornings and evenings tend to be cooler and safer for outdoor activities.

Dress in light, loszittende kleding. Comfortable attire allows for better air circulation and helps seniors stay cooler.

Drink plenty of fluids. Encourage seniors to stay hydrated throughout the day, as they may not always feel thirsty but still require adequate water intake.

For pet owners

1. Walk pets during cooler hours:

Take your pets for walks in the early morning or evening when the temperature is less intense. Avoid walking them during peak heat to prevent their paws from getting burned on hot pavement.

2. Provide plenty of water:

Make sure your pets have access to fresh, cool water at all times to stay hydrated. Hydration is crucial for pets during a heatwave, as they can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively as humans.

3. Offer shade:

Create shaded areas for your pets to retreat to and rest comfortably. Shade provides a cool spot for them to relax and helps prevent overheating.

4. Never leave pets in parked cars:

Under no circumstances should you leave your pets in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a car can skyrocket rapidly and become life-threatening for pets.

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Heatwave Do’s and Dont’s


1. Blijf gehydrateerd:

Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. Water is the best choice, but you can also drink other fluids such as clear broth, sports drinks, or juice. Staying hydrated is essential to help your body cope with the heat.

2. Avoid strenuous activity:

If you must be active, do so during the cooler hours of the day. Engaging in intense physical activity during the hottest part of the day can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses.

3. Dress appropriately:

Draag loszittende kleding, lichtgekleurde kleding. Loose clothing allows for better air circulation and helps keep you cooler. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics, which can trap heat and add to discomfort.

4. Seek shade:

If you are outside, find a shady spot to rest. Staying in the shade can provide relief from the direct sun and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

5. Take cool showers or baths:

Refreshing showers or baths will help lower your body temperature and provide immediate relief from the heat.

6. Use a fan or air conditioner:

If you have access to fans or air conditioning, use them to keep your home cool. These appliances create a more comfortable indoor environment during hot weather.

7. Check on family and friends:

Especially the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. Make sure they are staying hydrated and staying cool. Offer assistance if needed, as vulnerable individuals may require extra support during heatwaves.


1. Don’t exercise strenuously during the hottest part of the day:

Engaging in intense physical activity during peak heat can be dangerous and increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. Opt for lighter activities during these hours.

2. Don’t stay in direct sunlight for long periods:

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can raise your body temperature and put you at risk for heat-related issues. Seek shade or indoor spaces when possible.

3. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine:

Both alcohol and caffeine can contribute to dehydration, which is already a concern during hot weather. Stick to water and other hydrating beverages.

4. Don’t take hot baths or showers:

Hot baths or showers can raise your body temperature, making it harder for your body to cool down in hot weather. Opt for cooler showers or baths instead.

5. Don’t use a stove or oven to cook:

Using heat-generating appliances like stoves and ovens can add to the indoor temperature and make your living space less comfortable. Opt for cooler meal options during heatwaves.

6. Don’t leave your windows open:

Leaving windows open during the hottest part of the day can let in hot air, making it more challenging to keep your home cool. Close curtains or blinds to block out direct sunlight.

7. Don’t leave your pets in a parked car:

Even if the windows are cracked, parked cars can become dangerously hot for pets. Never leave your furry companions in a parked car during a heatwave.

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