Jun. 21st, 2017

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Oh @seananmcguire…
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We will not, cannot, and refuse to be ERASED!
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Jun. 21st, 2017 07:09 pm
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England, and from what I hear, Europe, is undergoing a heatwave.

Temperatures in the UK are around 30°C. Where I am it’s gonna hit 32°C in the next couple of hours.

To you Americans, you Australians, that’s nothing. It’s a mild day, we’re weak, whatever, I’ve heard it all, the thing is, WE AREN’T EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH THIS.

The average temperature in the UK in July is 17°C. It is in the 30’s today. We simply are not used to it. We are used to rain and sleet and hail and wind, not heat. And our heat is a damp heat. A humid heat.

Because of all the sea around us we have an extremely humid climate if it gets warm. The air literally feels heavy right now. I am struggling to cool down because the humidity is fucking with my sweat, and as a trans man, the high amounts of water in the air, combined with my binder make it difficult to breathe, and I assume a lot of asthmatic people have a similar problem.

When temperatures in the UK are like this, people die. Don’t laugh about it. It is serious. It may not seem like much to you, it may not seem warm to you, but in a similar heatwave in 2013, 760 people died.

Our infrastructure is not built to cope with this. The house I live in, for instance, was built when the Thames still used to freeze over. It was built to be warm. The walls are thick, the windows are small, some rooms don’t even have windows that open, it was built with no though to air circulation, and this is one of the most common types of home in the UK. The UK government subsidises insulation. People fill every gap in their home with stuff that will keep the heat in. And nobody - literally nobody - has aircon. A lot of businesses don’t even have it. We have no use for it 99.9% of the time. Hell, I don’t even own a desk fan or even a hand held fan.

It is very different here to where you are. And we are used to and equipped for very different things. Instead of laughing, teach us how to stay cool. Instead of making jokes or quips, make info posts, and things that will help us.

Remember, this may be an average day to you, but to us it’s a heatwave. We cannot cope. And for some, particularly children and the elderly, it’s literally a matter of life and death.

Repeating this cause there’s another heatwave going on in Europe at the moment. This is reality for us.

Take some advice from someone who grew up in a high heat, high humidity climate (aka the state of Georgia aka the sweat factory from early may until early October).

From 10 AM to 3 PM  especially (the hottest part of the day) DO NOT exert yourself outdoors if you are not acclimated to working in these conditions. Just. Don’t. You can work yourself up to it by doing small shifts (like… start with half an hour and add a bit each day) and drinking a lot of water, but don’t work outdoors a full 8-hour shift in the heat of the day if you are not used to it. It can take up to a WEEK for your body chemistry to adjust. If you have a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, you need to talk to a professional before you even consider it. Educate yourself on heat-related illnesses and the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The latter is an Emergency Room situation.

Better yet, if you want to trim the hedges outside, get up and go do it early in the morning when it is cooler.

Sports drinks are okay but they should not be your only fluids. Drink at least as much plain water as you do Gatorade or whatever it is. If you drink half a liter of sports drink, drink half a liter of water also. Or more. You can actually overdo it on the sugar and salt.

No air conditioner? Get a fan. Soak some towels and put them in the freezer. Hang them in front of the fan. Sit in front of that fan until you can breath.

Wear a hat with a brim outdoors. Ball caps are okay but a full brim is better unless you just enjoy getting a sunburn. Wear sunscreen too.

There’s a reason there’s been a long history in the USA of considering southerners “lazy” and it has nothing to do with lack of motivation and everything to do with the fact that this kind of weather saps your energy and can be hazardous if you overdo it.

Check on your elderly neighbors if it’s possible. Offer to take them somewhere air conditioned like a library or even a supermarket if their home is too hot inside.

Anyone who makes fun of this is a jackass. I’ve lived with heat like this my whole life and I know what it can do. Hell, I’ve come close to getting ill from it myself because I didn’t pay attention and wanted to be stubborn about it, and I’m accustomed to it. It’s not something to piss around with.

fellow Americans and Australians and other desert flowers: I grew up in Palm Springs, California, where we routinely got temperatures in the 50s/120s in the summer, and having moved to both central Virginia and northern Illinois, I have this to say:

30/86 is fucking unbearable with any kind of humidity, especially if you’re in a building made to trap heat and have no air conditioner.

My favorite trick for cooling off is keeping 10 or 15 washcloths in a bowl of water in the fridge. Pull them out and wipe down, and cool off the backs of your knees, your wrists and armpits, and your neck.

Lately I’ve started filling quart soup containers halfway with water and freezing them into pucks of ice for my water and my cat’s water.

You can also freeze water bottles, cover them in a cotton sock, and snuggle them at night like a teddy bear.

Due to a combination of meds and sensory processing bullshit, these days mid-20s celcius and any humidity starts fucking with me bad. I believe I got the tip originally from @hagar-729: crushed ice drinks! Like slush-drinks. I will make my own, to the point of even just using ice-cubes to make slush in water. 

Cold wet cloths placed in front of an open window are a godsend. Take care of your pets. I’m not sure what to do for cats, but doggos like ice whenever possible. Cold fruits too, but not too much. And remember they like the fan as much as you do.

Speaking of cold fruits, freeze grapes and chunks of watermelon it’s so refreshing it’s great.

Take showers whenever possible and stay hydrated kiddos.

Cats are usually pretty heat-tolerant, but there should be lots of water and putting ice-cubes in it isn’t a bad idea. They’ll tend to actively seek comfortable positions and temperatures in a way dogs sometimes don’t, so keep an eye on their behaviour, especially if you have a long-haired cat: we know it’s time to clip the fluff-ball, for example, when we start finding him hanging out lying flat on the tile floors instead of on anything with cloth.

Man, as an American living in the UK: I get the impulse. I do. I get it. The rest of the world likes to brag to Americans about having things like healthcare and cheap university, and Americans retaliate by pointing out how nobody else can handle basic weather. I get the impulse. Everyone is proud of what they can endure.

But I have had so many Americans heatstroke on me while visiting in Northern Europe that it is no longer funny.

Also, let’s be fair: yesterday I was mooching about an air-conditioned store where a cluster of teenagers were sheltering, with a manager calling their parents to pick them up. Because they were walking home from school and it was no longer humane. With the boys and some girls in their long black uniform trousers, and the rest of the girls in black tights and skirts, their sleeves all rolled up and their ties off. LOL teens moaning about it being ~hot~ right?

But let’s be fair. How many American kids regularly walk several miles to school and and back across a hot pavemented town/city, without shade, in a full uniform? In a country where schools aren’t air conditioned and they usually have to keep their blazers on during school (and certainly must keep their ties on?) And what trophy do you get, exactly, for heatstroke?

I was like: right on, kids, being smart and knowing your limits. Don’t mess around when people are dying. Get a ride home!
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Jun. 21st, 2017 09:33 pm
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