Beating the heat wave: 20 ways to keep cool as the weather turns hot

Funny sweaty bearded man in swimsuit sitting at home, suffering from crazy summer heat, wiping sweat off forehead, holding electric fan, wishing for heatwave to stop and fresh breeze to blow

The heat can be dangerous to one’s health, triggering serious conditions like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. It’s important to keep cool, so here are some tips to help you beat the next heat wave in your area.

  1. If you don’t have air conditioning, use box fans and ceiling fans to move air through your home.
  2. Open windows and doors and put the fans in front of them to push air through the house.
  3. Close windows when the sun rises to keep the cooler air in until the house heats up.
  4. Take cool baths or soak your feet in cool water.
  5. Wear light color and lightweight clothing — cotton is best.
  6. Put sheets in the freezer for a few minutes before putting them on your bed and going to sleep.
  7. Put a bucket of ice in a shallow pan and place it in front of a fan to blow cold air in your direction.
  8. Keep lights off; they heat up a house.
  9. Eat light — salads, not meatloaf.
  10. Hot air rises, so sleep downstairs if possible.
  11. Drink more fluids.
  12. Don’t use the stove if you can help it.
  13. Consider purchasing cooling pillows and mattress pads. New technology helps to keep bedding materials cool.
  14. Try a mint body wash if you can find one. Mint has a cooling effect on the skin.
  15. Spicy foods can make you sweat and cool you off.
  16. Make sure your ceiling fan is running in a counter-clockwise movement. It will push cooler air down.
  17. Eat ice to cool yourself down.
  18. Try to go to a movie theater, shopping mall, library or some other air-conditioned building where you can sit down and cool off.
  19. You can find small, personal fans which are attached to cords you wear around your neck.
  20. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which can make you feel hotter and dehydrate you.

What else should you do?

  • Check on neighbors, especially the elderly.
  • Make sure your pet has water and shade.
  • If you see an animal tied up without shade and water, call 911 and report it.

How do you know if you have gotten too hot?

Heat cramps

Symptoms: spasms in the legs and abdominal, usually; heavy sweating.

What to do: Get the person into a cool spot and give them sips of cool water.

Heat exhaustion

Symptoms: Heavy sweating even when skin is cool; fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhausting and headaches.

What to do: Get the person to a cool place, give them sips of water and seek medical attention if the person begins to vomit.

Heat stroke

Symptoms: High body temperature; dry, hot skin; rapid, shallow breathing.

What to do: This is a medical emergency. Get the person to a hospital and try to cool them down by moving them to a cool place and using cool compresses to reduce their temperature.

Sources: Weather Underground; Medicinenet; The Telegraph; The Associated Press

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