Stay Cool This Summer
I love summer... But who doesn't. The long days, the sunshine, laughter at neighborhood pools, smells of hamburgers on the grill, the list could go on an on. Now that it’s actually here, however, how do we keep cool without going broke, depleting the ozone layer and contributing to global warming? In other words, air conditioning is not the only answer to staying cool inside when it’s hot outside. There are dozens of ingenious ways to beat the heat and most of them aren’t going to overburden your budget.
If you live in a dry climate, have an evaporative cooler installed. It’s more environmentally friendly, costs less to run and keeps you just as cool as air conditioning.
Run cool water over the inside of your wrists.
If you live near some, drive up to the mountains. The higher you go, the cooler it gets.
If your house is painted a heat-absorbing dark shade, paint it a lighter shade to deflect the sun’s rays.
Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day – more if you’re very active.
Don’t exercise in the heat of the day – do it before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
Set a bowl of ice water in front of a moving fan.
Wear loose, light-colored natural-fiber clothing.
Soak your feet in a plastic basin of cool (not cold) water.
Hang out in your basement – it’s usually at least 10 degrees cooler than upper floors.
Install a de-humidifier if your area has high humidity, which contributes to heat discomfort.
Wear your hair up or short – most heat escapes from the top of your head.
Make your own portable evaporative cooler: wet down a white cotton towel and drape it around your neck.
Open windows only in the room you’re in and the one opposite. Position a fan to blow from one window to the other to create a cross-draft.
Turn off the heating element in your waterbed.
Shower or bathe regularly to keep your pores unclogged and efficiently sweating.
Plant shade trees around the outside of the house.
Instead of incandescent light bulbs, which give off a lot of heat, use compact florescents.
Keep blinds down on the side of the house the sun is shining on. Cover the windows with aluminum foil to reflect sunlight.
Eat a Popsicle.
Hang roll-up bamboo blinds outside the east and south windows.
Wear a wide-brimmed, breathable hat when in the sun.
Avoid dehydrating beverages – a cold beer or cola might sound good, but alcohol and caffeine will add to your discomfort.
Eat lightly. Stay away from heavy, fatty foods and excessive protein (which aids heat production). Do eat salty foods to replace sodium lost from sweating.
Use your backyard grill to stay out of a hot kitchen while cooking.
Install ceiling fans in heavy-use rooms.
Keep a spray bottle of water handy and mist yourself while sitting in front of a fan.
Go shopping, to the library, movies or a restaurant and take advantage of someone else’s air conditioning.
Unplug computers, TVs and VCRs when not in use. Even turned off, these appliances generate a lot of heat.
Drugstores sell sore-muscle rubs like Ben-Gay, which, when rubbed on pulse points, make you feel cool.
Take a cool bath or shower – but not cold. Cold water constricts blood vessels. Afterward the blood vessels overcompensate by dilating and make you feel even hotter than before.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – not only are they good for you, most of them have a high water content, which will supplement the water you drink and help to stave off dehydration.
Watch medications – some decrease perspiration and contribute to overheating.
Lie down with a refrigerated face mask for a few minutes to refresh your whole body.
Avoid the upper floors of your house – remember, heat rises.
Pets need special attention in high temperatures. If yours are kept outside, be sure they have a shaded area to rest in and plenty of water to drink. Invest in a self-watering bowl.
Young children are also especially prone to heat. Don’t let them play in direct sunlight without a hat and sunglasses (if you can manage it). Use plenty of sunscreen on them.
Never, never, never leave anyone – animal or human – in a closed car, even with a window cracked. Temperatures can get up to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, enough to kill.
Look in on elderly neighbors. Help them to stay cool and comfortable and avoid heat stroke.