Depending on where you live or choose to vacation, the summer sun can bring some serious heat. Without preparation, it can not only take some fun out of your day, but it can also affect your health. Extreme heat can lead to headaches, nausea, dehydration, cramps, heat exhaustion, or, in the worst cases, even heatstroke.
It’s important to check the weather daily and use tactics to stay cool and hydrated. If you’re not sure where to start, below are four ways to stop sweltering this summer.
Consider an AC Upgrade
The summer heat doesn’t just affect you when you’re outside, it can also make your home unbearably warm. When it comes to cooling your living space, air conditioning beats oscillating or window fans by a country mile. But what if you have spaces your central AC just can’t seem to touch? You might consider switching to a split AC system, which allows you to control temperatures by zone or even individual rooms. Such systems can also end up saving you money — how about that for a win-win?
A split AC system can have multiple units throughout your home that all have their own thermostat. This allows you to adjust the settings depending on your preference in each area. You can even skip cooling the air in rooms you won’t be occupying to save energy. Because they don’t require ductwork, mini split AC systems are easier and cheaper to install. No ductwork also means that energy won’t be wasted when conditioned air seeps out through gaps and holes in HVAC ducts.
Dress for Hot-Weather Success
When you spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, dressing appropriately for the weather may seem obvious. However, there are types of fabrics that are better than others in hot weather, such as — surprise! — nylon and polyester. Unlike cotton, these materials are moisture-wicking, meaning they do not absorb and hold moisture as you perspire. Rather, these materials move sweat away from the body, making you feel cooler on high-temperature days.
When you’re out in the sun, it’s also better to wear light-colored clothes rather than dark ones, as sunlight reflects off of light colors. Dark clothing absorbs the sun’s rays, leaving you feeling hotter and more uncomfortable.
While moisture-wicking synthetics are good for sun-soaked activities, that doesn’t rule out natural fibers altogether. Loose-fitting clothing items in breathable fabrics like silk and linen are also excellent staples of a summer wardrobe. Coupled with a cool drink in the shade, such garments will have you feeling summer’s carefree vibe for sure!
Plan Weather-Appropriate Activities
When contemplating your summer activities, make sure to factor in each day’s weather to avoid overheating. If certain days of the week will have a particularly high UV index, consider opting for indoor entertainment. Bowling alleys, shopping malls, museums, and movie theaters are all excellent places to get out of the overwhelming heat. You can also devise fun indoor activities at home, such as making crafts or playing board games. Other inside fun can involve whipping up homemade popsicles, having a movie marathon, or starting a new book.
Avoiding the outdoors doesn’t have to be the only way to stop from sweltering, however. Making plans that incorporate water or plenty of shade can be helpful as well. Going for a dip in the pool or breaking out the sprinkler can be great options on overwhelmingly hot days. If you don’t have these at home, head to your local recreation center or water park to feel refreshed. Or take advantage of the shade by hanging a hammock in the trees or eating lunch in a pavilion at the park.
Drink Lots and Lots of Water
This is another tip that has likely already been drilled into your head — and for good reason. In the summer heat, your body perspires more, and those fluids need to be replenished. Replacing lost fluid with water helps prevent dehydration, which is one of the main causes of heat exhaustion. In most cases, plain water is enough, and no added electrolytes are needed to hydrate sufficiently. However, if you work in heat all day, as construction workers, landscapers, and lifeguards do, added electrolytes can be beneficial.
Drinking plenty of water offers additional health benefits, like keeping joints lubricated and increasing sleep quality. It also helps improve your mood and cognition, which includes your judgment and reasoning. If you find it a challenge to drink as much water as recommended, consider flavoring it with mint or cut-up fruit. Keeping it ice-cold will also help, so opt for a stainless steel, insulated water bottle. These bottles have the ability to maintain chilly temperatures for up to six hours or more.
The Bottom Line
The summer heat is punishing, but that just means you have to up your cool-keeping game. Whether it’s enhancing your AC or dressing for the season, there are ways to make the hot summer days bearable. That’s a good thing, as knowing how to cool your body down is crucial for your health and well-being. Take care of yourself and your family by approaching the summer swelter with these savvy heat-beating strategies.
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