This past week, Boston has been one of over 60 locations to be hit by a brutal heat wave that’s setting all-time high heat records in the U.S. and Canada. Where I live, yesterday’s peak temperature clocked in at 97°F, with today following suit at 99°. There is one very simple explanation for these bizarre changes: climate change.

Unfortunately, it is not as widely accepted an idea as one might hope. 52% of Americans believe that global warming is not mostly caused by human activity, despite science strongly suggesting the contrary. This mind-boggling statistic can be attributed to the fact that climate change has been converted from a scientific, fact-based issue to a political debate. While one might argue that everything relates to politics in some way,

For those of us not used to the severe heat, these sweltering temperatures can prove dangerous, which is why it’s important to know how to stay safe. To help accomplish that, use this non-exhaustive list for tips.

  • Carry a water bottle with you and keep hydrated
  • Wear light-weight clothing
  • Take cool showers
  • Don’t leave children or pets in cars without air-conditioning
  • Stay in the shade
  • Look for free public pools in your area
  • Take breaks from strenuous work as often as you can
  • Don’t overexert yourself

If you are looking to help at-risk populations in your area, try handing out cold water bottles or setting up sprinklers in your public parks.

You should also know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Symptoms may include heavy sweating, a rapid pulse, cold and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 911.

Heat stroke is a more severe form of heat exhaustion. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature and it rises rapidly. You may experience nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and fainting. If you suspect you may be suffering a heat stroke, call 911 immediately. 

Now that you are informed about these heat-related syndromes, look out for them in both yourself and the people around you to ensure we’re all staying safe amidst these record-breaking temperatures!

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