Today is  – “Is It Hot Enough For You Day”.  While we’re not specifically asking the all too familiar go-to summer small-talk question, it is quite likely that the temperature outside today is at least hot enough for most people. The fact is that it has been over a month since Summer officially began in the northern hemisphere, and some of the hottest days of the year are likely upon us!

In the spirit of beating the heat, we decided to cover some tips and tricks that can aid us in keeping cool in the summer heat. Especially if you don’t have air conditioning, or want to save money on energy bills.

First and foremost, the best way for us to keep cool is to let our bodies do their best to do the process naturally. This means that we need to stay hydrated!  And preferably, hydrated with the proper fluids.

It is Vital to Stay Hydrated. When the summer temperatures rise, it is absolutely vital that we drink enough water! Even mild dehydration can cause symptoms such as flushed skin, fatigue, and headaches. It can also get much worse as we approach heat stroke, and begin to experience symptoms of dizziness, nausea and decreased concentration.
So, it’s important that we reach for water, or water-based beverages like seltzer water, infused water, unsweetened tea, or unsweetened coconut water. Sports drinks may be helpful if you are doing excessive outdoor activities, but for most of us, just going about our summer day, water alone is generally the best choice. We should avoid sugary juice drinks, soda, and alcohol as these drinks decrease the bodies ability to store water or work directly against our bodies ability to rehydrate.

How much water do we need? The National Institutes of Health says Adult women need 9 cups per day, while adult males need 13 cups water per day. They say suggest starting with 4 and increasing to 12 cups per day, for children and teenagers, as they age.  They also suggest increased water intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women and caution older adults, who may need a slightly increased intake due to a naturally reduced sense of thirst.

Don’t Like the Taste of Water? Try This:

Don’t like the taste of water, try infusing flavor, try coconut waters, or teas.

Infuse Your Water. Infuse your water with fresh fruits or mint. Try citrus fruits, watermelon, strawberries, or even cucumber.

Try Coconuts. Try drinking unsweetened coconut water which has natural cooling properties to help cool you down from the inside out.

Chrysanthemum Tea. Chrysanthemum is also a natural coolant. So try sipping on this delightful cold tea.

 

Other Tips beyond Hydration

Control Your Breathing. If you feel overheated, try a few minutes of deep breathing exercises. Steady breathing rhythm can make us feel cooler. Try curling your tongue by pulling both sides upward toward the middle, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to ten times.

Give Yourself a Spritz. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, then periodically give yourself a good squirt. This spritz bottle doesn’t have to be filled with water, and perhaps it will work better if it isn’t! Try misting cold peppermint tea, or water with menthol essential oils. Just be cautious of your eyes and pets if you go the essential oil route.

Apply Aloe Vera. Perhaps you are familiar with applying aloe vera to cool a sunburn, but it can also be used for general cooling during the hot, hot summer. There are recipes for a cooling aloe vera spray available on the internet, or you can just apply it as one would normally.

You Are What You Eat, So Eat Cool. Food can keep you cool if you eat the right ones. Choose salads, and fresh raw foods, like vegetables and fruits. Watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, and berries…these foods will provide extra hydration due to high-water content and will hopefully keep you cool as a cucumber.  These foods are also easier to digest and will help us avoid the metabolic heat production that comes along with eating protein-heavy foods. Not to mention, these foods don’t usually need to be cooked, so there is the benefit of no added heat to the room from cooking on a stove top or in the oven.

Use Ice Packs on Pulse Points.  Placing something cold on your body’s best cooling points is another effective way of reducing heat. These points are sensitive areas on our bodies where you can feel the pulse. Think neck, wrists, temples, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees. Try putting a cool towel over, or a cold compress on your neck or behind your knees. Or running cool water over your feet, or wrists. Wear a cold damp bandana around your head or neck while outdoors. When you apply cool or cold to these pulse points, your brain will get the message and start lowering body temperature!

 Be Creative and Optimize Your Fans. Using fans to blowing around hot air? Get more creative and reap the much cooler benefits! Point box fans out the window so they push hot air out. Have a ceiling fan? Switch the blades to run counter-clockwise during the hot summer months, to pull hot air up and out instead of circulating it back down into the room.

Build Your Own A/C. This process can be as simple as freezing a couple of water bottles  and placing them in front of a window fan or desk fan. It can also be as advanced as constructing your own pseudo-air conditioner out of basic materials, like a cheap styrofoam cooler, some ice and an electric fan.

Cut a hole the size of your electric fans cage into the top lid of a styrofoam cooler. Then attach the fan facing downward, blowing air into the cooler. Fill the cooler with ice, then cut some smaller vent holes into the front of the cooler. In no-time you have an affordable and semi-portable, albeit, rudimentary air conditioner!

Put Up Sun Blocking Window Treatments. Work with the heat from the sun, don’t let it work against you.  Close blinds and curtains early in the day as a preventative measure to stop the harsh late-day sunlight from building up excess heat in your room. White-backed or sun-deflecting curtains are ideal and are available for purchase.  With proper curtains you could reduce the amount of heat coming into your home through the windows by as much as 45 percent! In the evenings, if the outside air is dry and cooler than the air inside your home, try a classic desert-dwelling trick and hang a damp sheet in an open window. Let the evaporating water cool the incoming breeze.

Cool Your Car Fast. Did you know you can cool your hot car off quickly by simply creating a cross-breeze? Roll down a window on one side of the car, then quickly open and close the door opposite the open window. This will draw the hot air out. Do this for a short while and your car will be significantly cooler in no time!

Feel the (Freezer) Burn on Your Sheets. Another tip for keeping cool on hot evenings is to place your bed sheets into a plastic bag and into the freezer for a little while before you go to bed.  While this method won’t be able keep you cool all night, it will easily offer some escape from the heat until you are able to drift off to sleep.

Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you in beating the heat, so that you can get out and fully appreciate the few short summer days that we enjoy in this part of the country!