Here’s a list of tips compiled from numerous sources and based on experiences of living through some very hot summers such as Chicago, South Dakota, or Albuquerque. I am writing this for my dear friends here in Seattle because we do not get this kind of heat often.
1. Slow down. When you are outside or in a place that is not air conditioned, face reality, move slowly and put your brain in low gear. Tip: If you need relief from your hot house, go to an air-conditioned library, movie theater, or if your city has one, a designated cooling center.
2. Always be hydrating. Drink ice water, cold juice, non-caffeinated ice tea. Have it with you at all times. This is especially important if you live somewhere that is both hot and humid. Tip: Always keep a bottle of water in the freezer.
3. Shut out the sunlight. Even if your apartment or office is air conditioned, shut the blinds. Sunlight equals heat. Inside wear shorts, baggy T-Shirt, flip-flops. Forget the underwear and socks. When you are outside wear loose, long-sleeved clothes (shirts, pants, skirts) of light material. Tip: Keeping the sun off your skin provides more surface area for sweating, and so is actually cooler. Wear a cap or straw hat.
4. Crank up the fans. If you don’t have air conditioning and even if you do, promote air circulation throughout your house or office with fans. Start them up early in the day before it gets hot. Use a hand fan. Take one with you when you go outside, it can be a lifesaver. Eat high water content foods, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Tip: Eating these fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance will help keep you hydrated.
5. Utilize the cooling power of water. If you are feeling like your body is getting too hot, cool it down by taking a long, cool shower or bath. Soak your feet in a bucket or pan of ice water. Utilize towels and bandanas soaked in cold, cold water. Apply an ice pack to various parts of your body. Use a water-filled spray bottle that you have placed in a refrigerator until it is ice cold (nearly frozen is best). When you are outside, mist yourself with refreshing spritzes of chilled water. Tip: Create a “rice-sock” ice pack. Grab an old sock, stuff it full of rice and put it into the freezer for a few hours. Stay cool at night by placing it under the covers with you. Rice retains the cold for long periods of time.
6. Remember your pets safety. Too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather. Tip: Consider your pets this 4th of July weekend. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.