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How to Stay Cool During a Heat Wave

heat wave

Even though the phrase “In like a lion, out like a lamb” usually applies to the month of March, we can argue that this year’s July is on its way out like a lion. Over the past several days, we’ve seen a heat wave that makes most of us want to stay indoors and huddle up near the air conditioner. If you’re plans take place outside, however, here are some key tips on how to stay cool:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Staying hydrated is important in hot weather. When you’re hydrated, your body is able to sweat and naturally cool itself off. If you’re spending time outside in the heat, drink plenty of water, iced tea, and juice to cool your body down and prevent dehydration.

Keep Ice on Hand

Ice cubes can give you immediate relief from the heat. Just apply an ice cube (wrapped in a napkin or cloth to avoid extreme coldness) to certain pulse points of the body and you’ll feel instantly cooler. These points include your wrists, your inner thighs, your neck, the tops of your feet, and the insides of your elbows.

Eat Small Meals

When you eat large meals, your body works harder to digest it and therefore creates more metabolic heat. Instead of large meals, stick to small meals or frequent snacks. When you do eat a meal, try to stay away from large amounts of protein, as protein also increases metabolic heat.

Use an Umbrella

It may not be raining, but an umbrella can provide a nice haven of shade for you no matter where you are. Open up your umbrella when you feel like you’re getting too hot and spend some time out of the sun.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

While a cold beer or soda may sound refreshing and thirst quenching, alcohol and caffeine can both dehydrate the body and increase your metabolic heat (and the effects are twofold when you mix the two, like in a rum and Coke). Instead, try some sparkling flavored water or lemonade to satisfy your craving.

Wear Light Clothing

It should go without saying that lighter fabrics like linen and cotton will keep you cooler than heavier or non-absorbent fabrics like denim or polyester. In addition to light clothing, opt for loose clothing so that your body can breathe.

Resist the Cold Shower

If you get the chance to take a cold shower during a hot day, chances are you’ll want to. While the cold water may relieve your hotness temporarily, your body will compensate for the heat loss afterwards and you’ll actually be hotter than you’d like (especially if you’re back outside). Keep the shower to lukewarm – you’ll still cool down.

P.J. Fitzpatrick

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