Martha and the Vandellas sang about the torment of a "Heat Wave" in their 1963 hit: "It's like a heat wave/burnin' in my heart/ It's like a heat wave/It's tearin' me apart."
They did a pretty good job of predicting the effect of the scorching temperatures the U.S. has been experiencing this summer.
At least 67 weather stations from Washington State through New Mexico have recorded their hottest temperatures ever, according to the National Weather Service. And as risky as that is for the earth's future, it also poses an immediate threat to you.
High temperatures can cause dehydration, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps; strain the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; and even increase interpersonal conflict. Research also shows strong links between climate crises and development of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
So how can you stay cool, calm, and collected when it's steamy outside?
• Don't use an electric fan when the indoor air temperature is more than 95 degrees. The breeze can actually cause your body to gain heat instead of losing it.
• If you have air conditioning, use it or go to an air-conditioned building or cooling center. For locations, Google "cooling centers (and the name of your town)." And wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• In a cool environment, drink a tall glass of plain water every couple of hours. In the heat, have a water bottle with you and sip every 10-15 minutes. Nothing sugary.
• Exercise indoors in a cool place.