Staying Out of the Sun:
Plan time inside. Air conditioning is not an amenity that every household has. If you don’t have air conditioning, plan a few hours to go somewhere that has it. Try to do so in the middle of the afternoon (the hottest part of the day).
- Have late lunch with friends in a restaurant.
- Study at the library.
- Walk through the mall.
- Go to a museum.
- See a movie.
Stay covered. If you are outside, don’t spend extended amounts of time without shade. The cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours per day. Under trees, umbrellas, tents, gazebos, or awnings are all great places to relax in the shade.
Find a breeze. If you live near a body of water, there is likely to be a breeze there. If you live in the mountains, the valley between them is likely to have a cool breeze. If you don’t have access to a breezy area, you can use a fan for the same effect.
Drink water every 15 minutes. You should consume 6-12 ounces of water every 15 minutes in the hot summer days. If you do this, you’ll be aiming to drink a gallon of water a day. If you don’t normally drink water, this may sound daunting. However, if you switch out soft drinks during lunch or your afternoon coffee with waters, you’ll have no problem drinking a full gallon throughout the day.
Avoid caffeine. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and soda are detrimental to your hydration. They pull water from your body. You don’t have to cut it out of your diet completely but limit yourself to one or two a day.
Drink sports drinks. Sports drinks were designed to hydrate you properly. They contain electrolytes (a mixture of carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium). These help replace the minerals that you lose when you sweat and help keep you hydrated. Plus, if you don’t like the taste of water, sports drinks come in hundreds of flavors.
Going Easy in the Heat:
Wear light colored clothing and a hat. These will reflect the light away from your body. Dark colored clothing attracts the light and holds heat in, making your body temperature rise.
Wear the right fabrics. Lightweight clothes are the best choice when you’re trying to keep cool. Of course if you’re at the beach or at home, you can wear minimal clothing. But if you’re running errands or going to work, you should wear linen, cotton, silk, or other breathable fabrics. Keep your clothing loose and breezy.
Rest during the day. The heat will exhaust you more quickly than cooler temperatures. Take time to rest during the day in a shaded spot to keep your body temperature down.
Know your limits. You might not be able to rest during the day. If you work outside or play outdoor sports in the summer, you need to be aware of your limits. Make sure that you’re consistently drinking water throughout the day—not just during the time of activity. If you get a moment to rest, do so under the shade. As soon as you notice that you don’t feel well, take yourself out of the heat. Any dizziness, headaches, or stomach aches can be early signs of heat illness.
Recognize signs of heat illness early. If you are in the heat for an extended amount of time, you’re putting yourself at risk of heat illness. This ranges from basic symptoms to heat stroke. Watch for the basic symptoms so that you can react before it becomes more serious.
- Muscle cramps
Recognize more serious signs of heat illness. If you pass off the early signs as something other than heat illness, the symptoms will grow more severe. This is when you’re passing the realm of heat exhaustion and entering a medical emergency situation called a heat stroke.
- Profuse sweating
- Convulsions and chills
Have a plan. Be prepared just in case these heat illnesses happen. If you recognize early signs, you can simply rest in the shade, and drink 2 quarts of water in the next hour while you rest. If they become more severe, you will need medical attention. If no one is with you, call for help. Immediately strip and cover your entire body in cool water. (You can use the spray from a garden hose.) Place ice packs under the armpits and groin.