- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How To Beat The Summer Heat
Cool Your Engines
We all know the standard tricks for keeping cool in the heat of the summer -- jump in the pool, wear loose fitting clothing, or just head for the nearest air conditioned saloon for a quick cold one. But there are other tricks for keeping cool in the summer sun. Here are few ideas to help you make it through the heat...
A Little Dab Will Do Ya!
Water can serve you in many ways in your quest for total coolness. Try running cold water across your wrists every hour or so. Cold water splashed on your face is also refreshing or try a towel soaked in cold water covering your head or placed on the back of your neck.
Your grandmother may have told you that if you get overheated you can try the wrist trick to cool down, but this is not really an effecient method of cooling when overheated. It works well for staying cool, but if you are too hot, a cold towel on the back of your neck or over your head will help bring down your core body temperature quicker.
Another great way to cool down when overheated is to hop in a cold shower or a bath. This is the best way to cool down your entire body quickly. Of course, a bath or shower can be used to keep cool as well.It might also be a good idea to pamper yourself with a bubble bath.
It is very important to consume plenty of water to stay hydrated. This allows your body to sweat which then cools you naturally and at the same times helps your body run more effeciently and avoid overheating. Keep in mind it is always better to stay cool rather than get overheated and then have to bring your body temperature down.
Choose Your Foods
What and how you eat can affect your body temperature. Avoid overeating and big meals. Instead, stick to more frequent snacks and light meals. Heavy eating speeds up metabolism which in turn heats the body. It is especially wise to eat light when exercising in the heat. Keep this in mind if your job includes working outside. When you prepare your lunch, keep it light, or if going to a restaurant for lunch, stick with salads or other light options.
Another trick for keeping cool is peppering your diet with spicy foods. Spicy foods contain a chemical called capsaicin which stimulates nerve endings in the mouth and on the tongue that ordinarily respond to a rise in body temperature. This tricks the brain into thinking body temperature has risen, even though it has not, which in turn causes the body to produce sweat which acts to cool the skin making you feel cooler.
Change Your Hair Style
Switching hair styles with the seasons can increase your cooling capability in the summer. A thinner, shorter cut can allow more heat to escape through your scalp which in turn cools the rest of you. Also, avoid using gels, conditioners and mousse as these can make the hair denser as well as coat the scalp keeping the heat in
If you like your hair long and prefer not to cut it, now is the time to go with the simple ponytail. Basically anything you can to to get the hair off your neck area will be beneficial, short of piling it on top of your head, of course. One advantage to using this trick opposed to cutting your hair is that when winter weather returns, you will still have your hair to keep you warm.
Stay Low, Spread Out, Keep Moist
Stick to lower floors if you have a multi-story home. If you live in a hilly area, try to stay in the valleys. If there is water nearby, stay as close to it as you can. Low lying areas, especially those near large bodies of water, tend to be cooler. Of course, sticking to shaded areas helps as well. If you are with people, spread out and do not cluster together. So if you can stay in areas that are more open, lower, and darker, while keeping a little elbow room between your friends, you will likely find it easier to keep cool.
Refresh Your Style
Clothing affects your temperature more than many may realize. While loose fitting clothes can decrease the heat by allowing air to flow more freely around your body, the types of clothing you wear can also have an affect. In particular, cotton fabrics are generally cooler than most synthetic materials. Cotton apparel should be thin and not too thick.
The cotton works by drawing off sweat as well as creating tiny pockets of air that work to cool the skin slightly. Even cotton undergarments can help with cooling when worn under other fabrics. This may seem like the opposite of what you would expect, but that extra layer of clothing can act as a barrier against warmer garments.
Plan Ahead For Next Summer
It is always a good idea to plan ahead. Here are some suggestions for cooling down in the years to come when summer rolls around...
- Plant trees around your home to increase the amount of shade.
- Lose weight and eat healthier in general.
- Become more active to improve your body's overall efficiency.
- Improve your home's insulation to better contain cool air.
- Improve air flow in your home by rearranging furnishings and considering ventilation fans.
- Plan outdoor summer vacations for either the earliest part of the summer or the latest, avoiding the hottest days.
Hopefully some of these ideas with help you stay cool during the dog days of summer. But in addition to staying cool when out in the summer heat, be sure to be mindful of avoiding sunburns and especially be aware of the dangers of heat stroke. The summer warmth can be a glorious thing, but we must remember to always respect Mother Nature and use good judgment in our activities.
And speaking of dog days, this might be a good time to mention our beloved pets. Do not forget to help them stay cool as well. Make sure they always have an adequate supply of fresh water, do not leave them outside for long periods of time and never leave them locked in a car on a hot day. Research has shown that the temperature inside a closed automobile can easily soar to more than 115º with temperatures outside as low as 72º. This can be deadly to an animal trapped inside!