Summer is here so I thought I would offer you some tips & strategies to keep cool. Adapt them to fit your needs whether you're outside all day, working in your garden for the afternoon or chillin' and having fun.
1. Hydration is key
Hydrating at frequent intervals is critical, rather than waiting until you’re at your maximum thirst.
The minute you think you need a drink, stop and take the drink right then. If you don't you'll end up getting heat exhaustion.
2. Drink cool – not cold – water
This distinction makes all the difference. I describe the sensation from drinking extremely cold water like getting a brain freeze from a Slurpee, except amplified.
3. Start early
If you’re working outside, make every effort to start before the sun comes up or at least before it’s reached its peak.
4. Stay wet
If I notice that somebody has stopped sweating, I recognize it as the first sign of heat exhaustion. I've experienced it more than once.
No matter what an individual is doing, he/she needs to go sit in the shade, sip some water – just sip it, don't chug it – and just get yourself inside or in the shade.
5. Dress strategically
Wear light colors to reflect the sun. Even the color of your footwear is significant – White shoes versus dark shoes could mean the difference between having cool feet and feeling like you have blisters.
Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you're ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you'll have a supply of cold water with you.
Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
I learned this trick from a tennis pro: if you're wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
9. Drinks to avoid
Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won't have to cook next to a hot stove.
11. Open to the Public
If you don't have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
12. Common Sense
Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don't forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.
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