Doctor offers hacks to beat the heat and keep you out of the emergency room

Denise Dador Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
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Despite this relentless heat wave, people are finding creative ways to stay cool. A local doctor says he thinks that's why there are fewer heat-related injuries coming in to his emergency room.

Despite this relentless heat wave, people are finding creative ways to stay cool. A local doctor says he thinks that's why there are fewer heat-related injuries coming in to his emergency room.

But we can always use more tips on beating the heat. Here are some doctor-approved heat hacks to help you get through this heat wave - and the inevitable next.

Beating this punishing heat is tough for 13-year-old Maddie Huh, especially since her family is trying to conserve energy.

"We're turning the AC up, we're dimming the lights and trying to find others ways to keep cool like spritzing water," she said.

That's the first heat hack: spray your face with water and use a fan. Doctors say this is efficient because it's how the body cools itself.

"As the fan basically goes across the skin and as that water evaporates, it takes away heat," said Cedars-Sinai E.R. physician, Dr. Sam Torbati.

He added it's what doctors do in hospitals, and it's why using a cool cloth around your neck works better than ice.

"There's a concern that if you put ice on skin, that ice may (cause blood vessels) to vasoconstrict," he said.

Despite the soaring temps, Torbati said he's had relatively few heat-illness cases.

"It's been incredibly low and we want this to continue," he said.

Torbati added people are heeding the advice of staying indoors, wearing loose clothing and drinking plenty of water. Most at risk for heat exhaustion are the elderly, the obese, those with chronic conditions and children.

"When it's really hot, I get headaches," said Huh.

So to beat the heat, Huh's family is taking advantage of heat hack #2: Their ceiling fan is turning counter clockwise.

Turning the blades in this direction naturally cools the room because cold air pools along the floor as heat rises. When the fan turns counter clockwise, it creates a wind chill effect, bringing cooler air higher.

"Oh I didn't know that. That's good to know," Huh said.

Another old school heat hack, especially if you can stay close to the fan, is putting a bowl of ice in front of it. This works especially well at a desk.

"That's essentially what an air conditioner is. That works. It's a good way of creating cool air," Torbati said.

And sleeping can be tough when the room is warm, so another heat hack is to put your pillow case in the freezer and use it at bedtime.

"That feels so good," Huh said.