It seems like every year we have a new highest-temperature-ever as summers continue to get hotter. For those without air conditioning, the hot temperatures are more than just uncomfortable, they’re dangerous too. Already, over 200 people have died in the Pacific Northwest because of extreme heat. Cooling-stations are opening up in all the affected areas, as more people look for the best ways to beat the heat and stay cool through the hottest part of the year.
5 Best Ways to Stay Cool
The first and probably most important way to stay cool is by making sure you’re staying hydrated. Dehydration is one of the most dangerous problems facing us during the summer. Basically, dehydration is when your body loses more water that it gains. This makes it impossible for your body to regulate its heat.
During a heat wave, dehydration can happen fast and without much warning. This usually happens because we forget to drink enough water throughout the day to keep up with the amount that’s lost through sweating. This happens much faster in the summer, for obvious reasons. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid getting dehydrated.
All you need to do is: Drink More Water!
Seriously, it’s that easy. Our bodies normally need between 10-16 cups of water per day. If it’s especially hot, you’ve been more active than usual, you’ve been sweating more, or you’re spending a lot of time outside in the sun, then you should drink more water than normal. All you need to do is listen to your body and look out for the symptoms of dehydration, before it’s too late.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Excessive thirst
- Dry mouth and skin
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Decreased/dark urination
- Decreased sweating
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Stubborn headaches
If you notice any of these symptoms, then it’s time to give yourself a break and drink a heck of a lot of water. Make sure you keep an eye on your children, elderly family members, and pets to ensure everyone in the family stays safe. If symptoms continue or get worse, then get your butt to the doctor.
Dress for the Weather
Another great way to stay cool during the summer is by wearing the right clothes. It’s pretty obvious that nobody should be wearing a hoodie and sweatpants outside in this heat, but dressing for the weather might not always be as obvious as you might think.
When it comes to summer wardrobes, there are two things to keep in mind: light colors and breathable fabric.
Light colors reflect the fiery rays of the sun, helping you stay cool even when you’re out in the heat. A general rule of thumb is that the lighter a color is, the more light and heat it reflects, and vice versa. The darker a color is, the more light and heat it absorbs, making you more uncomfortable.
Best “Cooling” Colors to Wear in the Summer:
- Pastel Colors
- Shiny Colors
Breathable fabric also helps keep you cool. The thicker and less breathable your fabric is means more heat gets trapped inside, against your skin. Breathable fabric allows the heat and moisture from your body to be transferred to the fabric and then released into the air. This transfer of heat and moisture keeps you cool and dry, even during the hottest months.
Best Breathable Fabrics for Staying Cool
- Merino Wool
Ok this one is pretty obvious, but I still feel like I need to say it: if you’re too hot, then take a rest. There’s nothing lazy about it, nothing weak about it, nothing wrong about it; everybody could benefit this summer by just slowing down and taking a rest whenever needed.
Overexertion in extreme heat is a recipe for heat exhaustion, and I promise you don’t want that.
Find Your Body’s Quick-Cooling Zones
The most dangerous heat-related condition to watch out for during the summer is heat stroke. This dangerous condition can happen quickly, and the results are often devastating. This is when having a really good understanding of your own body comes in handy, especially knowing your quick-cooling zones and the symptoms of heat stroke.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
- Core body temperature over 104
- Getting very dizzy or light-headed
- No sweat (even in the heat)
- Red, dry, and very hot skin
- Cramps and muscle weakness
- Rapid heartbeat and breath
- Disorientation, confusion, and other behavioral changes
- Fainting and unconsciousness
Important Note: If you or someone around you is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Heat stroke is no joke.
To help prevent heat stroke, get familiar with your body’s quick-cooling zones. These specific spots of the body help cool you down, fast. Quick-cooling zones on the body are found near areas where blood vessels come close to the surface of the skin.
When you apply cold water, a cool washcloth, or an ice pack to any of these spots, it quickly brings your entire body temperature down. This works by cooling down the blood as it passes through so it can cool down the rest of your body. Think of it like a really cool highway in your veins.
It’s like witchcraft, but cool.
Quick-Cooling Zones On the Body:
- Neck (front and back)
- Insides of your elbows and knees
- Tops of your feet
- Inside of your ankle (near your ankle bone)
- Inner thighs
- Temple, right in front of your ears
Install and Maintain Your A/C Unit
During the heat of the summer, the best way to keep cool is having access to a reliable air conditioner. About 90% of Americans have A/C in their homes. Because temperatures are rising every year, there are areas in the country that are getting significantly hotter than usual, like the Pacific Northwest, where having an air conditioner was never really a priority.
Things have definitely changed. Not only is it important that you have an air conditioner installed in your home, but it’s essential that your A/C unit operates efficiently and effectively. Keeping your air conditioning unit in tip-top condition requires regular maintenance throughout the year.
Investing in a maintenance program with your local HVAC providers, you know… like Mrs. Michael HVAC Technicians, ensures you have a licensed HVAC technician fully optimizing and maintaining your HVAC system, all year-long.
Mrs. Michael HVAC Technicians Can Help You Beat the Heat
Look, we may not be doctors, but we are experts at being cool. The professional, licensed HVAC technicians here at Mrs. Michael HVAC Technicians can keep you cool and safe in the heat of the summer with a newly-installed air conditioner. Not only that, but we offer comprehensive maintenance programs that ensure your A/C unit stays optimized all year. Call Mrs. Michael HVAC Technicians for all your HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation needs.