Staying Cool in the Heat

By Abigail Edwards

With summer officially underway, heat and humidity make it a challenge to stay cool and comfortable. Heat-related illnesses are no stranger to us; in fact, over 9,000 Americans have died due to direct exposure to heat since 1979. Seventy-five percent of us are chronically dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue, low blood pressure, brain fog, irritability and a number of other unpleasant symptoms.

WATER

Good old water is obviously the best choice to keep you hydrated, but if you are one of those people who gets sick of the same solution, other drinks and food can be good alternatives. Fruits and vegetables like strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes are naturally water-rich. There is also a wide variety of electrolyte drinks and powdered additives to help keep hydration tasting great.

Unfortunately, water alone won’t prevent overheating, making it all the more important to find multiple ways to regulate

your temperature. Air flow is another factor.

AIR

To make it easier for your A/C unit, be sure to change out its filter regularly, especially if you live in an area with frequent

wildfires. Smoke and soot can leave it clogged in less than a month. Keep strategicdoors open in your house so the cold air return works more efficiently. Blackout curtains hung by doors and windows offer insulation and privacy.

When I’m forced to leave the safety of the air-conditioned house, I’ve found that wearing a small, portable “necklace fan” is invaluable. They are cheap and easy to find online. Tabletop and pedestal fans keep your home or office from feeling hot and stuffy, especially on humid days.

SHADE

When work or recreation requires you to be outdoors, shade is going to make all the difference. Seek out cover from trees or buildings; it’s worth the extra time it takes to find parking. When there’s no shade to be found, keep your own on hand. Car window shades can prevent your vehicle from overheating and draping a small towel over the steering wheel can protect you from burning your hands later. Pop-up shades can make outdoor events more enjoyable but if you want to go a less expensive, pre-assembled route, be sure to bring an umbrella. They aren’t just for rain!

A summertime safety strategy requires a little time but it’s more than worth the effort if it means keeping your cool and allowing more opportunities to make great summer memories.

 

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