Tips for Staying Cool to Beat the Heat

Staying cool with the relentless hot temps this year seems almost impossible if you’re not used to sweltering temperatures. The extreme amount of heat can be a deterrent from going outside and enjoying life. 

Although it seems like it's already unusually hot, historically speaking extreme heat isn't really anything new. High temperatures do fluctuate annually but the last couple of years have been scorching!

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You may not have been around, but in the summer of 1936, temperatures across the US and Southern Canada reached record highs. To this day, those hot temps haven’t been topped. Many cities set heat records in excess of 110° F, while communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Arkansas all topped 120° F! Even at night, lows dipped only into the nineties in many areas.

Still feeling hot?

Crops became wastelands and 5000 people died from the excessive heat. Of course, back then, staying cool was super hard to do because air conditioners and electric fans weren’t around. Can you imagine? People had to be really inventive to be able to cool down!

With what looks to be a very long hot season, most people are already thinking about the fall and winter! Just remember! When temps were cold last year, you said you wouldn't complain about the heat this summer. Right? (Too funny!)

Well, the heat is on and it's around for a while. So keep your cool and try some new ways for staying cool. Its all a matter of mind over the hot, scorching sun! Ouch!

Tips for Staying Cool in the Heat

  • Wear fewer clothes.

  • Wear thin, light colored, loose cotton clothing.

  • Use peppermint soap when you shower. This will keep your skin feeling cool and refreshed all throughout the day. Try it, you'll love the effects!

  • Use fans alone or in unison with your A/C. Just remember though. Fans cool you and not the air so turn them off when you leave the room.

  • Use gel ice packs on the back of your neck to cool you down. This doesn’t lower your core temperature though but it sure makes you feel cooler.

  • Take cool showers instead of warm showers to cool down. When you take a shower, be sure to use the vent fan. It helps sticky moisture escape the room.

  • Sleep naked!

  • Stick your head in the freezer for a few minutes.

  • Staying cool means keeping the doors to your house closed! Cool air escapes in a matter of seconds when you open the door just one time. Tell your children to either stay in the house or go outside. Don't let your door becoming a 'revolving door'!

  • Sunblocks with an SPF greater than 30 are great for staying cool. They block the sun from penetrating your skin so your skin stays cool, even in the hottest temps. Be sure to apply it regularly, especially if you’re sweating! (Who isn’t?)

  • Use the cool setting on your blow dryer to cool your face, dry sweat off your neck, and to wake you up!

  • Use a sunbrella to block off the hot sun.

  • Visit a waterpark for the day!

  • Go swimming. If you can’t find a pool or don’t live near a lake, river, or ocean, get your bathing suit on and set up a sprinkler in your yard with the kids (if you have them). That way, everyone can have some fun running threw the cold sprays of water.

  • If the humidity is not too high, keep a (spray) bottle of water you can spritz on your skin and face during the day. As the water evaporates, it cools down your body. Spritz your wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through your veins.

  • If you have long hair, keep it pulled up off your neck.

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your core temperature down. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Aw shucks!

  • Eat light energy foods (like watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, mangoes, kiwi, and pineapple) that replenish water in your body. They're also full of natural sugars that will naturally boost energy. For extra cooling measures, be sure to refrigerate before you consume them, especially watermelon! They're easier to digest than a greasy cheeseburger, which can leave you feeling sluggish in the high heat.

  • Close the blinds and curtains to block off the sun inside your home. Close curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) to reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent. This is according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • To keep yourself cooler when working on your computer, plug in a USB port fan like the Kensington FlyFan. Some of these types of fans have a flexible neck that allows you to direct the air flow.

  • Take your shoes and socks off. As the sweat on your feet evaporates, it helps cool down the skin and the blood in your feet. The blood that's been cooled down, circulates to other parts of the body, so you get a greater sensation of coolness.

  • Eating spicy foods actually cool down your body. People who live in scorching climates, (such as those of Mexico and India), know that eating hot foods can cool you down. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that will help you perspire. When this sweat evaporates, you experience brief cooling down. Alternately, you can also drink hot liquids (like coffee) to help cool you down faster.

  • Turn off the lights or change the lightbulbs. Turning off lights might be a no brainer but using compact fluorescent bulbs can also reduce temps in rooms that require lighting and save energy. CF bulbs use about 70 percent less heat than standard incandescent lights.

  • Don’t use your oven to cook meals. If you cook, use the stovetop, the microwave, or your grill. Smaller grills like a hibachi grill, don’t require as much heating so they won’t make you as hot while you’re cooking. Grill some extra fresh veggies while you’re at it so you can use leftovers the next day.

  • Stick your feet in a bucket of cold water. Keep your feet cool and you’re awesome!

  • Use a wide brimmed hat when you work in the yard.

  • Drink something HOT! I know this seems counterintuitive but it works.

  • Find the shade!

  • Make some ice cream or have a popsicle. Of course, sometimes staying cool means not having to travel anywhere. If you'd like some great recipes for making your own homemade popsicles, try this site.

  • Make a cold compress by filling a cotton sock with rice. Tie off the sock and freeze. Before you head to bed, take the sock out of the freezer and slide it between your sheets. Rice retains cold for long periods of time because it's dense and starchy.

  • Instead of heating up the kitchen, have (cold) soup, salad, or cereal night once or twice a week. Cold soups like vichyssoise, gazpacho, or consomme are easy and different. They really help with staying cool.

  • Put cold ice gel packs in your clothing. Oh my!

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    Cool Facts About Staying Cool

  • If you wait until you feel thirsty, you've waited too long! Drink water at regular intervals to avoid heat exhaustion.

  • According to the National Weather Service, when the heat index is over 105 degrees, most people make 60 mistakes an hour, which is one mistake a minute!

  • Don't know if you're drinking enough water? The best way to judge this (input) is by looking at your urine (output). If it's clear or light colored, your water levels are good! If it's cloudy or dark colored, you need to increase your water intake quickly!

    Also be sure your pet has lots of extra water during hot temperatures, especially if they stay outdoors. Give them plenty of shade too! They are prone to heat exhaustion and stroke, just like we are!

    Staying cool in sweltering temps doesn't mean you have to strip down to your birthday suit unless you want to!

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