While many people look forward to the heat of summer (so they can engage in outdoor activities, especially those related to water sports), the fact is that summer heat can be a very dangerous thing. The elderly, for example, are especially vulnerable to strokes, trouble with their breathing, and an inability to get much exercise, if any. If there is a high ozone alert or if the temperatures rise above 95 degrees, everyone, including the young and healthy, can also be put at risk. For these reasons, everyone, especially those without the luxury of on-going air-conditioned air, need to take appropriate body-cooling measures. Here are some practical possibilities:
1. Fill up a spray bottle with ice water and spray yourself periodically. You should preferably put the spray nozzle on a fine mist setting. Naturally, the ice will melt and the water will eventually lose its coolness (which is why you will need to keep re-filling the bottle with ice water), but this is a simple but effective way to keep exposed skin cool.
2. Fill a basin with ice water then put such in front of a fan. You can call this a poor man’s air conditioner. If you are handy and can afford to buy some supplies, you can also consider making your own air conditioner. While there are some models that people have come up with on the Internet, one of the most promising ones can be found at http://www.instructables.com/id/Hollis-homemade-AC/.
3. Fill up a tub with cool water, then soak your feet in it, periodically adding a few ice cubes (if available) to keep the water from getting too hot. If possible, go to a local creek, river, pond, lake or beach, in order to engage in this simple but effective way to stay cool. The fact is that we lose heat mostly through the head and the extremities, which is why you will do well to keep your feet and head well-covered in the winter; the opposite, naturally, applies during hot weather.
4. Wet a bandanna (preferably made of light, water-soaking, heat-resistant material) and put it around your neck. A substantial amount of blood travels through your neck’s arteries and veins–meaning that any coolness such blood picks up is quickly distributed to other parts of the body. Re-soak the bandanna as it dries up and as the water therein warms up.
5. Buy and use water toys and accessories for your backyard. If any are around, invite children to participate, and let the fun begin. Many adults would not know what to do with water-filled balloons, water pistols, lawn slides-if that is the case, children can quickly teach such adults a lesson or two in “letting your hair down.” Even a simple garden hose can be a great way to have some fun and to cool off at the same time.
6. Get an inflatable pool for your patio or backyard. These pools come in a variety of sizes, are usually very sturdy (as long as they are not unnecessarily abused or misused), and are relatively inexpensive. A full-size swimming pool would be ideal, but, for those persons who cannot afford one, who cannot take care of one (since lots of maintenance is required, in general), or who cannot accommodate one on their property, these smaller models offer a good alternative. Make sure that the model you get is big enough to sit or lie down in and that, if children will be playing near it, they are constantly supervised by an adult once they are filled up with water.
7. Turn off as many lights as possible and do not run any appliances unnecessarily. If you have to wash and dry clothes, for example, do it at night, when it is cooler. The same goes for using ovens and other heat-generating appliances. Avoid cooking indoors, if you can, during the hottest parts of summer days.
8. Bring down shades and close curtains-this helps to keep the sun’s rays outside of your home. You may also consider closing windows. Both sunlight and fresh air are wonderful things, but they can also over-heat your place of residence in the summer.
9. Set up shop in a basement, cellar, or underground emergency shelter. The fact is that the deeper you go below ground level, the cooler it is. You might even consider moving your bedroom or office to such parts of the house during the hottest part of the year.
10. Hang out at places that are air-conditioned and relatively safe. Ideally, swimming pools, lakes and beaches make some of the best choices (if looking for natural alternatives to air-conditioned facilities), but getting to and gaining access to these places can be tricky and expensive (for those on limited income and without their own vehicles). Other usually-less-expensive and more-easily-accessible alternatives, however, include malls, fast food restaurants, discounted movie theaters, ice cream shops, and public buildings (such as public libraries).