the (not so) stupid questions you ask yourself

Our answers to these not silly questions you ask yourself about what to do, and what you can do in summer with the heat.

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1. What should you avoid eating during the heat wave?

If no food is really contraindicated, it is best to maintain a balanced diet and avoid foods high in salt such as cold cuts. The risk is to make water retention.

Fatty meats are among the foods that doctors recommend avoiding during hot weather. In addition, proteins are more difficult to digest and tend to give heat during digestion.

The platform Heat wave info service highly recommend taking waterlogged fruits, such as watermelon or melon. As for vegetables, it is advisable to eat leeks because they are rich in trace elements. Indeed, perspiration makes you lose a lot of mineral salts, so you have to try to recover them as much as possible. Finally, water should be favored over sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit juices.

The Ministry of Health recommended elderly people to drink regularly without waiting to be thirsty and to continue eating normally: “The production of sweat generates a loss of water and salt which must be compensated. Do not forget to accompany the intake of drinks with a varied diet, dividing meals if necessary, to maintain the salt in the body (bread, soups, etc.). »

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2. Can we swim in the Seine?

Since 1923, a prefectural decree prohibits swimming in the Seine. Since 1970, another has also prohibited swimming in the Marne, a tributary of the Seine. Nevertheless, the department of Seine-et-Marne has nine natural bathing areas. In summer, it is also possible to swim in the natural pools set up in the Canal de l’Ourcq, in Paris, but only from July 9.

If swimming is recommended to fight against the heat, beware of thermal shock. French firefighters warned against the risk of hydrocution, due to too great a difference between the body and the freshness of the water and which can lead to drowning.

3. Is a bar required to offer me a glass of water even if I don’t drink anything?

In 2017, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) published on Twitter a legal reminder, still applicable today.

As part of a restaurant meal, the carafe of water is included in the price. But a restaurateur or cafetier is absolutely not required to deliver a free glass of water alone if a person asks him to. “The glass of water constitutes a specific and identified service, in the same way as other drinks”, explain the DGCCRF. He must then inform the consumer about the price of this service, as required by order.

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Here’s the theory. In fact, and especially during heat waves, it is more than likely that the owner of the café will not let you die of thirst and will offer you a glass of water.

4. Can you water your garden or wash your car?

In periods of high heat, water restrictions may be imposed. The website Propluvia lists all the restriction orders in the French departments. “To deal with a shortage of water resources during low water periods, the prefects are required to take exceptional measures to limit or suspend the use of water”recalls the site attached to the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

There are four levels of dryness:

  • vigilance (informing and encouraging individuals and professionals to save water);
  • alert (reduction of withdrawals for agricultural purposes or prohibition a few days a week, measures prohibiting nautical activity, prohibition at certain times of watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses, washing cars, etc.);
  • enhanced alert (increased reduction in withdrawals for agricultural purposes, greater limitation of withdrawals for watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses, car washing, up to the prohibition of certain withdrawals);
  • crisis (stopping of non-priority withdrawals, including withdrawals for agricultural purposes. Only withdrawals ensuring the exercise of priority uses are authorized for health, civil security, drinking water, sanitation).
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5. Should we eat more salt?

It is recommended that athletes add a little salt to their drinks during prolonged exercise in high heat to prevent dehydration – for walks in the desert, some athletes even take salt tablets. In the same way, it is good to “recharge” in salt when it is hot, because we lose it by sweating. Especially since salt makes you thirsty and encourages you to hydrate. That said, there is no need to add it to your dishes in the canteen, because the dishes from the food industry already contain too much.

Overall, doctors recommend above all to avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and all diuretic drinks – they promote urinary secretion and reduce the level of hydration in the body.

6. How many liters of sweat can you evacuate without rehydrating?

An average-sized adult produces between 0.5 and 1 liter of sweat per day in a normal situation, not counting the water lost during urination. In case of strong heat, this figure can rise to 2.5 liters, or even 3 liters.

According to the water lost – through sweating and urination – some symptoms may occurin an average-sized adult who does not rehydrate:

  • 3 litres: fatigue or onset of nausea;
  • 4 litres: more sustained breathing, headaches;
  • 5 liters: dry tongue, speech difficulties;
  • 6 liters: the blood – made up of more than 80% water – begins to have difficulty circulating due to greater viscosity, possible pain in the kidneys.

In adults who are under 70 years old, thirst begins to appear when one lacks about 1.5 liters of water.

7. Should we drink 1.5 liters of beer a day, as it was recommended on television in 1975?

“The National Committee for the Defense against Alcoholism states that you can drink 1.5 liters a day without danger to your health. Something to quench your thirst in a day. And then why deprive yourself of it? » With each heat wave, the video becomes cult again. A old report from France 3 dated 1975 brought out by the INA (National Audiovisual Institute) recommended drinking 1.5 liters of beer during the heat wave. More than forty years later, the discourse has changed a lot. The Ministry of Health recommended of “do not drink alcohol” during this hot weather.

Alcohol has diuretic properties, which by definition stimulate urinary secretions – you go to the toilet more – and therefore dehydrates. It is therefore better to drink a beer rather than a glass of whiskey, especially since it contains large quantities of water compared to wine or strong alcohol. Here again, the ideal is to drink water because it contains mineral salts which we get rid of by perspiration.

8. Is it better to sleep naked or clothed?

He is recommended close shutters and windows during the day and ventilate at night. To facilitate sleep, the question of sleeping naked or clothed is difficult to decide. It depends on several factors: the temperature of the room, the degree of perspiration of the individual, the type of fiber in the sheets, etc.

Heat wave info service concludes that there are no hard and fast rules and leaves it to everyone’s own. She recommends all the same for a person who has profuse sweating to sleep with cotton clothes in order to absorb the perspiration which appears during sleep. It is also preferable to avoid synthetic materials, which are not very breathable.

9. Can you cook a fried egg on the asphalt or on the hood of a car?

Since the cooking temperature of an egg is around 65°C (the white coagulates at around 62°C and the yolk at 68°C), it is not impossible to cook it on dark bitumen which can reach 70°C or on the hood of an automobile that can reach this temperature in direct sunlight.

Under the same conditions, the temperature inside the passenger compartment of a car can rise above 70°C, which can allow you to bake cakes at a temperature that is not too high, or dry tomatoes.

Remember that for this same reason, you should never leave your children or animals in a car, even “if you have five minutes”.

10. Can you leave your cat or dog in an apartment during the heat wave?

Like humans, dogs and cats suffer from the heat and must be protected during a heat wave. The dog is more sensitive to heat than to cold, because it perspires little through the skin and thus has more difficulty in regulating its temperature. Several signs indicate that the dog is hot: he often sticks his tongue out, panting loudly, breathing more quickly, drooling more than usual. He is advised to provide him with a shady corner, to regularly put clean, fresh water in his bowl, to pass a damp washcloth over his head and to walk him often.

Same thing for the cat, but because of its Near Eastern and desert origins, the cat has adapted better to the heat than other pets like the dog: its urinary system, for example, is prepared to concentrate the urine to keep as much water as possible. In case of strong heat, he will also seek shade and sleep even more than usual (it is possible, yes) to take care of himself. Among the strategies of the cat to cool his body, he can also wash a little more than usual: the saliva that he will deposit on his coat will lower the temperature by evaporating.

Nevertheless, common sense gestures can help:

  • check that it has enough fresh water;
  • give him a little more mash than usual – it contains more water than dry kibble;
  • try to maintain a cool room – this goes for you too.
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