Summer is here. Many are already feeling the impacts of unusually hot weather as record-breaking temperatures rolled through several Western states this past weekend. Extreme heat presents many dangers, including dehydration, heavy sweating, and fainting. Here’s how to stay cool and prevent other heat-related injuries this summer, even if you don’t have air conditioning.
1. Freeze stuff.
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are actually many things you can freeze other than water to stay cool. Grind up fresh mint and mix it with a little water before pouring it into ice trays to make herb-flavored ice cubes. Freeze grapes, pineapple, or mango to snack on or cool down your drink. Place a towel or wash cloth in the freezer to use before bed.
2. Take a break from cooking.
Kitchen appliances, like the oven and stove top, heat up the home. Prepare a picnic of cold cuts and leave the cooking for cooler days.
3. See a movie.
If you don’t have air conditioning in your own home, head to the local movie theatre for an early afternoon flick, which will also keep you out of the blazing sun during the hottest part of the day.
4. Locate your pulse points.
Your wrists, back of the neck, and forehead are known as pulse points, or areas where you can feel a heartbeat. The blood vessels are close to the skin and therefore will cool down quickly if you place ice or a cold cloth on them.
5. Build your own air conditioner.
Here’s any easy way to make your fan more effective: Fill a bowl with water and ice and put it in front of your fan. This will blow cool air toward you.
6. Eat smaller meals.
Large, protein-heavy meals use up a lot of your body’s energy to break food down. This will make you even more tired and sluggish. Keep healthy snacks around, like almonds or frozen fruit, to kill hunger pains and keep energy levels up.
7. Load up on spicy foods.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but according to talk show host and surgeon Dr. Oz, the heat from chilies and other spicy foods “causes you to sweat and naturally cools your body.”
8. Avoid alcohol.
An iced-cold beer is tempting on the beach, but drinking alcohol dehydrates the body because it makes us pee a lot. Wine and iced coffee have the same effect. Stick with water or sparkling water to stay hydrated and feeling refreshed. Although many factors influence how much water a person needs to drink everyday, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink 13 cups of fluids every day and women drink 9 cups of fluid.
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