- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How To Stay Cool In The Summer Heat
With summer in full swing, and being from a region where temperatures approach triple digits during the period from June to September, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a few helpful hints on how best to deal with the heat...
1. Wear light colored clothes, particularly shirts and tops. Colors such as white, heather gray, yellow, and baby blue reflect the sun's rays and gives off a cooling effect, as opposed to dark colors such as black and navy blue, which absorbs heat and makes one feel hotter.
2. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible whenever you venture outside. Wearing wide brimmed hats - or baseball caps at minimum - are excellent ways to shade you from the sun.
When walking, staying under trees is also a good idea. I find myself doing that whenever I venture outside on hot days.
3. WATER, WATER, WATER!
Mother Nature's cooling mechanism, it's essential that you drink as much water as possible when the thermometer approaches the nineties and up, especially during the afternoon hours as the hottest time of the day is around 2:00 p.m.
Personally, I never leave the house without a large water bottle in my backpack. It replenishes fluids lost and helps to prevent heat exhaustion.
Much in the same way that water keeps cars from overheating, water also keeps people from overheating.
4. If you do not have air conditioning in your house, try closing your window blinds that face the sun during the afternoon. That will reflect the sun away and will act as a coolant of sorts.
I also encourage getting an electric fan, as the moving air will help cool your house down in a "wind-chill" effect. Opening the windows in the evening also helps.
If you are fortunate enough to have air conditioning in your home, however, then you're all set.
5. Carrying a squirt bottle fan is extremely helpful for when you are out and about; it helps keep you cool for when you have to be outside in the heat.
During my years as an elementary school P.E. teacher, I carried a squirt bottle fan on the playground during lunchtime yard duty whenever a heat wave arose, and gave the students a squirt whenever asked.
To say that I became popular among the young-uns would be an understatement. The fact that I put the bottle in the teachers lounge's refrigerator in the hours before lunch didn't hurt either - the kids loved the cool sensation that resulted.
6. Taking cool or lukewarm showers rather than hot ones is a very good idea, as it helps cool the skin and makes the body feel more comfortable. I often feel more refreshed after I take a cool shower in the evening; it helps me to sleep at night.
Swimming pools, to state the obvious, are also helpful.
7. Sunscreen is crucial anytime you are outside, unless you don't mind burnt, painful skin and melanoma, of course. The higher the SPF factor you use in the lotion, the better - I always use an SPF of 45.
And don't forget to reapply the sunblock often, especially if you and your family are at the beach and decide to hit the waves.
8. Speaking of the beach, that's the best place to go during days when the mercury is in triple digits, because the sea breeze cools the temperature as much as thirty degrees compared to inland areas.
In the Los Angeles, CA area, where I live, millions flock to the coastal regions when the heat's up; the freeways are often gridlocked with individuals and families seeking relief.
9. Whenever possible, try and avoid strenuous physical activity during hot days - staying indoors is an excellent idea.
When I taught P.E., I always cancelled activities when the temperature reached 90-plus and staged a "sun-out", where the kids and I would sit in the shady areas of the playground, drink water, and avoid the sun.
Why did I do that? Because I didn't need any of the youngsters wilting under the sun and I definitely did not want my school to become the lead story of the national news with a headline of "Child Dies of Heat Stroke During Gym Class". Conserving energy when the weather gets hot is always the smart thing to do.
Hopefully these suggestions have helped you to be better able to deal with the heat that has already arrived, and is sure to continue as these summer months progresses.
As I've always said to people in this situation, "Why suffer when you don't have to?"
Take it from someone who spent his early childhood outside of Riverside, CA, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, an inland desert-type area where it reached 100 degrees on an almost daily basis this time of year (and still does): Follow these tips, and your potential to have a pleasurable and safe summer will be that much more possible.