Why is advice about the heat so bad? When heat kills more people than all other weather deaths combined. 

Whenever we get a heat wave or a heat dome over somewhere in the US, you can recite the advice while asleep: Don't go outside between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; drink lots of water if you do. Given the number of people dying, this advice needs to be corrected, or people need to be heeding the advice. What I see is a combination of both problems. 

It's high time we educate ourselves about how our bodies regulate heat and how weather conditions impact our health. The standard advice for handling heat waves is purposely too generic so it can apply to everyone. So many things affect how our bodies mitigate heat. Advice should be different for each individual, but that will not fit in the 30-second time slot allowed on the evening news for the story.

The truth about heat is that your age, weight, fitness, medication, health conditions, income, and atmosphere condition all affect how well or not you tolerate the heat. All of a sudden, the heat is not so simple.

For more details on crafting a personalized cooling plan, check out Part 1: Improve Your #HeatIQ  in our 7-part blog series about heat education.

Let's look at the advice. First, don't go outside. We all understand this one, but is it realistic? We still have to go to work, and many people work outside.

In Rochester, NY, we have snow days in the winter when it's too dangerous for everyone to be outside. Shouldn't we have heat days in the summer? If we can accept dangerous weather in the winter, why is it so hard to do in the summer?

Staying indoors without airflow and high humidity can make a building with direct sunlight, no A/C, and unopenable windows hotter and more dangerous. Did you know when it's over 98˚F sitting inside with a fan can make the air hotter and dangerously increase your core body temperature? This is why air conditioning is no longer a luxury, especially in urban areas where large amounts of concrete and asphalt significantly increase the ambient temperature. The best advice is to limit your time outdoors and seek a place with air conditioning when necessary.

For more details on understanding the 5 environmental risk factors for your cooling plan, check out Part 4: Environmental Risk Factors For Heat Stress  in our 7-part blog series about heat education.


The second part of the advice is to drink lots of water. Drinking water is always good advice every day, end of story. The thinking behind this is that you may become dehydrated fast from sweating in the heat, but this needs to be emphasized for people with health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. 

All the reasons above are why we designed and created Thermapparel products the way we did. They work by conduction, which means touch instead of evaporation. How hot you feel is essential, but keeping your core temperature lower for as long as possible in a hot environment is key, and you can only feel your core temperature once it's too late. Thermapparel does it effectively by cooling your skin and cooling the blood passing by. The cooler blood circulates to the rest of the body and organs, keeping your core cool. Cooling fans, an evaporative vest, and even your own sweat depend on evaporation. The higher the humidity, the less evaporation. Less evaporation equals less cooling. Our PCM cooling pack cools your core and works in any condition without harming your skin or relying on evaporation. Other solutions and products may be cheaper, but ours is always effective from the desert to the swamp. They are great for pre-cooling, event cooling, and recovery. Just check out what our customers say.





Want the nitty-gritty on our Cooling Packs, check out our tech page.


Our advice for the next heat wave. 

  1. First, do not trust yourself to say I will go in when I get hot. Overheating is something you feel once the symptoms are bad. It's a lot like a sunburn. When your skin feels warm or hurts, you already have a sunburn. Also, prevention is the best medicine. So, set your timer on your phone and go inside every 30 minutes or less, depending on how hot it is.
  2. Stay out of the direct sun. Use an umbrella or a hat with a large brim–think cowboy hat or floppy garden hat. The official reported temperature outside is recorded in the shade. It can be up to 15 degrees hotter in the direct sun. On a day that it is reported to be 95˚F, in the sun it's actually 110˚F. 

  3. Have a cooling plan for your day. Ask yourself when you'll be outside, for how long, and how you'll cool down. What do I need to keep safe and cool, like water, ice, a cooling vest, a cooler, and an umbrella?  

  4. Don't go anywhere without knowing an easily accessible place with an a/c to cool down. For example, if you have to walk to the store, know a few places to stop–like a library–and cool down.   

  5. Continually assess personal health conditions in relation to heat. What one person can do, someone else may not be able to. The young and elderly are at very high risk. Check all your medications; many can cause you to overheat more easily or interfere with sweating.
  6. Choose clothing that allows airflow, wicks, and is light in color. Remember that the official temperature was recorded in the shade, so it's 10 to 15 degrees hotter than what your phone weather app says.


Think ahead, and you can be safe and outside.  Learn more about making a cooling plan and for the ultimate in heat education, please read our 7-part blog series that will walk you through each step to understanding your body, the environmental factors, tools, and how to put it all together.

Part 1: Improve you #HeatIQ

Part 2: Why a Cooling Plan is Important

Part 3: Personal Risk Factors

Part 4: Environmental Factors of Heat-Related Illness

Part 5: Actions You Can Take

Part 6: Building the Ultimate Cooling Toolbox

Part 7: How a ThermAppare Cooling Vest Can Help You In The Heat