In the summer months it can get extremely hot, as we all know. Especially these days, battling the heat can be on everyone's mind. Here are some helpful tips for how to keep cool in the summer:
1. Wet your clothes
It seems silly but getting your jeans a little wet from sink water can mean all the difference. Cotton especially stays wet for a very long time. It is almost impossible to feel hot when you have wet clothes on.
2. Stay low
Heat rises so avoid going up stairs or hanging out in a loft. If you must, lie down on the floor. The floor is likely to be the coolest place in the house, especially if it is a concrete, tile or wooden floor.
3. Stay inside
If you have air conditioning, do not go out until dusk. Water the plants at night to avoid prolonged stays in the hot sun. If you do not have air conditioning, find a coffee shop or go to the library. Air conditioning is a must and small fans will not cool sufficiently to ward off heat exhaustion.
4. Drink water
There are too kinds of heat exhaustion: dehydration and lack of salt. In order to avoid dehydration, drink lots of water. Or alternatively, find an energy drink with electrolytes such as Emergen-C. Sometimes water itself cannot hydrate you as fast as you sweat out electrolytes.
5. Eat salt
The second kind of heat exhaustion is from lack of salt. So find something salty to eat such as Saltine crackers or potato chips. If you feel nauseous or have a headache, you may already be suffering from salt depletion. So do not wait for the symptoms, work on prevention.
6. Wear sunblock
If your job requires that you be outside, now more than ever, it is essential to wear sunblock. Yes, sunblock protects from burns and skin cancer, but it also will keep you cool. If you obtain a sunburn in very hot weather, you will have a hard time cooling down and will be much more susceptible to heat stroke and or death. Sunblock is not just a suggestion, it is a smart survival choice.
7. Wear a hat
If you must be outside in the sun, wear a large wide-brimmed hat. This will provide shade and cooling wherever you go. If a wide-brimmed hat is not available, a baseball cap will do. It may seem small but it does make a difference.
8. Do not drink cold water
Sometimes people advise that you should drink really cold water. The truth is, the colder the water, the more your body has to work to turn it into energy. In the case of extreme heat it is important to conserve energy and stay hydrated. So cold water may not be beneficial to your body when you are overheating.
9. Take a cold shower
If you are starting to feel the signs of fatigue, take a cold shower. This will cool off your skin and then cool your internal system. Alternatively, you can take a cool bath or run through a sprinkler. Do not go in an outdoor pool as the pool water is likely to be warm and only make your condition worse. If a warm pool is the only immediate option, go in wearing all your clothes and your wet clothing will cool you off when you get out.
Conserving energy is paramount when the heat index climbs above 100 degrees. So lie down if possible and read or watch a show. In the dead heat, it is better not to do much physical activity. Heat is not a joke; it can be life-threatening.
I hope these ideas help to prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion, as the best cure is prevention. Stay cool.