53 degrees Celsius
That's the highest computed heat index in the Philippines as of today, May 27, 2021. This figure was recorded from Dagupan City, Pangasinan last May 14, 2021.
The truth is, the Philippines, being a tropical country doesn't have a summer season. I know that April - May is referred to as the summer months of the Philippines, when in fact, we only have two seasons - the rainy season and the dry season. According to PAG-ASA, the climate of the country can be based on temperature and rainfall. The rainy season falls from June to November, while the dry season is from December to May. The dry season can further be categorized into two - (a) the cool dry season which is from December to February, the time where there is a cool breeze and we sometimes don't need an electric fan or air conditioning unit to survive the day or the night, and (b) the hot dry season which is from March to May - the very season that we are all experiencing today!
PAG-ASA reported that there is a "gradual shift of wind direction from northeasterly to easterly over most parts of the country" which signified the end of the northeast monsoon or the amihan season.
So, it's true that the hot dry season a.k.a. "summer" is here and it seems like it's going nowhere. :(
We were actually prompted by PAG-ASA last March that "Day-to-day weather across the country will gradually become warmer, though isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur." What they said was actually true, except for the isolated thunderstorms that are nowhere in sight!
Every afternoon, it seems like rain's gonna fall, only to realize that it's a prank. So, for how many days, I just didn't want to keep my hopes up. But I really do wish for rain to occur, not just a sprinkle of water for 5 minutes, but something that would make the surroundings cooler and more manageable to live in.
But since I am not Storm of X-Men, I can only hope for the best and do my part to take extra precautionary measures to minimize my stress on this matter and also keep myself healthy during these times of dryness and heat. I would like to share with you some tips on how to withstand this very unsatisfying season that we're all experiencing. But first, let's understand what HEAT INDEX means.
HEAT INDEX is not the actual temperature but the apparent temperature that a human perceives or feels as how the temperature affects their body. It is actually a level of discomfort an average person perceives or feels resulting from the combined effects of temperature and humidity. The table below shows the effects of heat index in our bodies at differing temperatures.
So, if Dagupan City reached a heat index of 53 degrees C, then, it is actually quite dangerous for a person to be exposed to such. The range of 32-41 degrees Celsius is actually already serious as there should be extreme caution towards going outside and doing certain activities. And the average heat indexes reported in the country is already in this range. It is really alarming to know this. So, what should be done to prevent yourself from heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke?
Here are some practical tips that all of us can practice in the "summer" season:
Stay indoors. Due to lockdown, we really can't go outside, so, if you're at home, find a place where there is the lowest amount of sunshine, maybe in the lowest floor of you live in a two-storey or taller house/building.
Wear light colored clothing. In Science, it is known that white is the reflection of all colors, that means all the heat bounces off from any white colored thing. On the other hand, black absorbs all the heat energy in colors, so, it's hotter when you wear dark colored clothing.
Hydrate regularly. Drink plenty of water to keep your body cool.
Drink water because it is the most important drink. Avoid alcoholic beverages as these types of beverage dehydrates the body.
Eat smaller meals however, you can eat more often. Avoid eating protein-rich foods as these can increase your metabolic heat.
Wear sunscreen. Sunscreen should be a necessity, because this product can protect us from the harmful UV rays which can greatly reduce sunburn. In the long run, applying sunscreen can also decrease the chances of having skin cancer by 50%.
These are just some of the simple ways that we can all do to protect ourselves from the heat that can do us harm. Wherever you are, please be safe and stay healthy!
Thanks for reading! :)