Stay Cool This Summer
You’ve looked forward to summer for months, but now that it’s actually here, how are you going to 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.
l 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.
1. If your house is painted a heat-absorbing dark shade, paint it a lighter shade to deflect the sun’s rays.
2. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day – more if you’re very active.
3. Don’t exercise in the heat of the day – do it before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
4. Set a bowl of ice water in front of a moving fan.
5. Wear loose, light-colored natural-fiber clothing.
6. Install a de-humidifier if your area has high humidity, which contributes to heat discomfort.
7. Shower or bathe regularly to keep your pores unclogged and efficiently sweating.
8. Plant shade trees around the outside of the house.
9. Hang roll-up bamboo blinds outside the east and south windows.
10. Wear a wide-brimmed, breathable hat when in the sun.
11. Avoid dehydrating beverages – a cold beer or cola might sound good, but alcohol and caffeine will add to your discomfort.
12. 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.
13. Install ceiling fans in heavy-use rooms.
14. Keep a spray bottle of water handy and mist yourself while sitting in front of a fan.
15. Go shopping, to the library, movies or a restaurant and take advantage of someone else’s air conditioning.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. Look in on elderly neighbors. Help them to stay cool and comfortable and avoid heat stroke.