Heat Wave 2011: 10 Tips to Stay Cool

 @ibtimes
on July 22 2011 1:01 PM
  • heat
    Find creative ways to beat the heat (REUTERS/ Jim Young)
  • heat
    Cool off with your friends (REUTERS/ Vincent West)
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Find creative ways to beat the heat (REUTERS/ Jim Young)

The United States is experiencing a heat wave with unbearable temperatures soaring into the triple digits all across the country. Don't get caught in the heat without a few tips and tricks to staying cool, hydrated and safe.

Chances are you stepped outside today at 7 am and started sweating- unacceptable! This is a check-on-the-old-lady-next-door sort of day. A don't-go-outside-if-you-can-help-it day. When people with AC crank it up and those without it buy as many fans as they can get their hands on. When we just wish it would be winter already. There's a pall of sweat, heat and haze hanging in the air and nobody knows what to do about it.

Here are some expert tips to keep your temperature down and to help  you ride out this heat wave.

1.       Have a heat wave party- What better way to battle the heat than turn it into an excuse to party. Eat spicy food (it increases perspiration which cools the body as it evaporates),and other foods with high water contents like watermelon, pineapple and honeydew. Just make this a sober party, alcohol acts as a diuretic which can make you dehydrated.

2.       You are never too old for a kiddy pool, a run through the sprinklers or a water balloon fight. Find out if your town is having any events at the local pool or swim club. Or, find a fountain to jump in.

3.       Use today as an excuse to wear those age-inappropriate shorts you've been keeping in the back of your closet.  Wearing loose-fitting, cotton clothes in light colors will keep you cooler than many synthetic fibers. Or, go naked (in your own house!).

4.       Take a mini bath- running cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds each will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour. Other hot spots are the back of your neck, knees and feet. Soak a washcloth in cold water and apply it to those points whenever you start to sweat.

5.       If you don't have air conditioning, become friends with people who do. Bribe them with ice cream and Popsicles- how can they say no? If you can't make friends, head to a public library, the mall a church, movie theatre or anywhere else that has AC.

Cool
Cool off with your friends (REUTERS/ Vincent West)

6.       Have a slumber party (with your new best friend).  Warm air rises since it's less dense than cooler air. So, get as low as possible- sleep on the floor or in the basement on cotton sheets. A smooth floor (like tile or bare wood) will feel refreshing, and the cooler air stays near the floor. 

7.       Do nothing- use the heat as an excuse to sit still. Instead of trying to get many errands done, try resting until evening. Sit in the shade and don't try to fan yourself as the exercise can make you hotter.  Avoid going out between 10 a.m. and 3p.m. when the sun's rays are hottest. If you do venture outside, walk in the shade, wear a hat or use an umbrella.

8.       Pretend you're a vampire- Close your blinds and curtains during the day, to block the sun's heat. Also, keep exterior doors and windows closed throughout the hottest part of the day, until it's cool enough to open up and cool off the house.

9.       Resist your Chipotle cravings. Overeating during a big meal forces your body into metabolic mode and your temperature to rise. Instead, just nibble or graze throughout the day on water based foods such as fruits and vegetables.

10.   Most importantly- hydrate! Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and drink lots of cold water; add a hint of mint if you have it. The infused menthol will cool you down even more.

If all else fails, pretend you're in a really fancy sauna- sweating is good for you!

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