Warm weather is welcomed by all since activities that aren’t possible year-long like swimming and tanning are now the main means of fun. Nevertheless, the torrid heat raises issues like thermal discomfort and health risks.
Unbearably hot weather is a common issue once summer turns the corner, and people raise concerns not only over their comfort since the heatwave makes it impossible to follow through with day-to-day life as they normally do because of the thermal discomfort and excess sweating but over their health too since high heat leads to serious issues like dehydration and even heat stroke.
Extreme temperature is at fault for approximately 5 million deaths each year, and while it is true that cold-linked deaths are more numerous, their stats are dropping while, in the past two decades, the number of extreme heat-related deaths has seen a gradual increase. Needless to say, climate change stands behind this occurrence. While there are efforts each of us can do to change the situation, we must think about health and safety first.
Regardless of how hot it might get, there are ways to cool off and defend yourself from the weather. Luckily for you, this is precisely the topic for discussion in this article. Take up the following advice, and thermal discomfort won’t be a problem even during the hottest summer day.
Part I: Dieting right
1.1 Proper hydration is the key to beat the heat
We cannot stress the importance of proper hydration enough. Before engaging in any activity that will solicit you physically, take a few sips of water. The rule is to drink water even when you’re not thirsty when the temperature skyrockets (don’t overdo it either, though).
*Tip for the smartphone addict: Since so much of your time is spent on the phone, put it to good use. What you ought to do is download an app that reminds you when to drink water. Set targets and stick to them, and track your progress to make sure you’re hydrating properly.
To feel like you’re cooling off much quicker, add some ice cubes into your glass of water, it helps. If you want to get creative, the nugget ice maker is your ally since the pellet cubes it produces are easy to chew on. This opens up new possibilities since you can make iced coffee, slushies, and even Thai iced tea to cool off rather than simply sticking to iced water when you’re thirsty and need a quick fix.
1.2 Choose cool foods rather than protein-packed meals
Cool foods refer to foods that have a high content of water, providing hydration and ultimately helping to keep you cool. Avoid protein-rich foods and meat because they amplify metabolic heat production. This, in turn, results in loss of water from the body. Some of the foods we recommend you indulge in during the heatwave are cucumbers, green leafy vegetables, watermelons, melons, onions, and celery.
- Did you know? Although your first instinct might be that spicy food is the last thing you should eat when it’s hot, the truth of the matter is that it helps you cool off since it encourages sweating. So eating that spicy pepper with your next meal might not be such a bad idea after all.
1.3 We all scream for ice cream
Everyone associates summer and high heat with eating ice cream. It’s the main dessert of any kid’s childhood, let’s face it. But a little known fact is that the classic ice cream we generally consume does more harm than good when it comes to cooling us off since it is a complex food that the body must produce a higher amount of heat to digest (those delicious fats and sugar in the cold treat are at fault). So, where does that leave us exactly? Instead of buying from the store, make your own low-calorie ice cream. This way, you help your body digest the treat easier and not get overheated.
Part II: Dressing smart
2.1 Fabrics and color matter more than style
We’re not saying that you should put on just any attire, but rather that you should put more accent on functionality rather than style when temperatures are high. One of the main factors for staying cool in summer stands in the clothes you wear, and what’s recommended you go for are:
- Light-colored clothes since they reflect heat and sunlight better.
- Clothes made from cotton and linen since these are the best at absorbing moisture.
- Thin clothes that you can see through when you hold them up to the light.
- Don’t forget to always cover your head. The shade that a hat offers is an efficient way to stay cool no matter how hot it gets outside.
2.2 Less is more
- The breezier your clothes are the better, that’s something we all know. Obviously, if you want to stay cool you should wear clothes that don’t cover your whole body. *If you do, make sure the fabric in them is as breathable as possible.
- The same goes for footwear, you should always go for shoes that have ventilation holes and feel breezy and breathable.
- You might be tempted to put on your favorite jewelry to accessorize your outfits. This isn’t a good idea in hot temperatures since metallic accessories heat up quickly.
*Extra tip: If your hair is long, then wear it up so that it won’t touch your face and body. Doing so makes a big difference since the breeze can freely flow along your neckline, something that would be impossible when you wear your long hair down.
Part III: A little protection goes a long way
3.1 Water is your best friend
Ideally, you should dip your body in cool water to freshen up when you get hot. Woefully, not everyone has a pool in their backyard to treat themselves to this quick fix. There are other less pretentious ways to help yourself cool off with water, however, namely:
- Turn on the sprinklers and stand in the path of the water they spread around.
- Take a cold shower or bath, just make sure that you don’t overdo it with the water’s temperature. It’s fairly easy to catch a cold, so don’t go to the extremes. Just bathe with water that is reasonably cooler than the baths you normally take.
- Have a water spray bottle in the fridge. When you feel like you can’t take the heat anymore, just spray the fine mist all over, and you will feel better in a jiffy.
- Why not have some fun with friends and family? Throw water balloons at each other or play with squirt guns. It’s a fun and delightful way to cool off no matter how hot it gets.
3.2 Pick your hours
Logically, one of the best solutions to stay safe from torrid heat is to avoid direct sun exposure. What you should do is avoid walking in the sun between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. when the sun is at its hottest during the summer months. This is what we mean by picking your hours – try to put together a schedule where you won’t be in the sun during those peak hours, and you will inevitably feel cool since the high temperature won’t directly affect you.
3.3 Take cover from the sun
You won’t be able to avoid the sun at all times, that’s a given. When you do find yourself outside during hot days and you want to cool off a bit, your best guess is to find a spot where there’s sufficient shade and take a break there. You can sit under a tree if there is one in your path. As a rule of thumb, it feels about 15 degrees cooler where there’s shade.
Part IV: What about the house?
4.1 Air conditioning and fans make for perfect companions
Staying cool indoors is likely the easiest since you can use household appliances to your advantage. The two products that no one should miss from their homes when it comes to creating more habitable conditions in the warmest of weather are the fan and the air conditioner.
Their efficiency is strongly debated since these units don’t actually provide cool air but rather circulate the air in the room. However, the breeze they produce does indeed have a cooling effect. As long as you sit within the radius where it blows, you will feel cooler. A bonus with fans stands in the fact that they reduce heat mugginess through air circulation.
*Tip: On really hot days, you ought to put a bowl of chilled water in front of the fan, turning it into an evaporative cooler. The air that the fan will blow around the room will feel colder, making you cool off quicker.
b) Air conditioner:
There’s no secret to it – ACs are the best when it comes to cooling indoor spaces, hands down. They reduce the temperature in the room or space you install them in, so you are guaranteed immediate cooling. If you don’t want to install a central air system, you can opt for a small window AC or a portable AC that you can easily move from one room to another depending on what space you’re using at the time.
*Tip: If you happen to be outside and you can’t take the heat anymore, look for the closest public access building where you can take cover until your core temperature settles a bit. Places like grocery stores and libraries are almost 100% of the time air-conditioned, and a 10-minute break here will go a long way when it comes to your comfort.
4.2 Block the rays
The sun’s rays entering your home are at fault for the thermal discomfort you ultimately feel. As much as you can, block them. This ingenious trick works for temperature level preservation. Some of the actions you can take in this sense include:
- Closing the curtains;
- Obstructing the windows;
- Lowering the shades;
- Installing awnings.
So, Beating the Heat Isn’t That Hard After All
Keeping cool during extreme temperatures on the plus side isn’t only an issue of comfort but safety as well. Luckily, there are more than enough tricks and solutions to keep cool and ensure that you won’t be discomforted by the rising temperatures even on the most torrid of days. Before we close, we must advise that you always wear sunscreen when you go out to protect your skin. You should also avoid going out during peak heat hours if you fall into one of these categories that are more susceptible to issues during the warmer months of the year: elderly, children, redheads/gingers, obese, people with cardiovascular health problems.