Extreme heat can be dangerous. Under normal conditions, the government recommends people go to air-conditioned places to cool off such as movie theaters, and libraries. But with social distancing in place, some of these options are off the table. So how can you stay safe and keep cool this summer? Check out these 7 ways to beat the heat at home…and on the cheap.
- Make a R-Ice Pack.
Hold on… was that, “ice-pack” or, “rice pack”? Yes. Rice is cheap. By placing it inside a sock, pillowcase, or cloth pouch, you can stick it in the freezer for a few hours and create your own ice pack! For fast relief, apply your DIY “r-ice pack” straight to your body’s pulse points–your wrists, forehead, toes, and the back of your neck.
- Hang Blackout Curtains.
If you’ve yet to discover the benefits of blackout shades, now’s the time. As the name suggests, blackout curtains or shades block the sunlight and darken your room. Even better, they can reduce the amount of heat that’s transferred via your windows by as much as 24%! Which means you’ll enjoy cooler temperatures in summer, and warmer temperatures in winter…not to mention save money on your energy bill! They come in tons of styles. Just be sure to close your blackout shades well before the room starts heating up.
- Sleep Low to the Ground.
Here’s a basic science lesson you learned in grade school that will help you today: hot air rises. To cool off at night, sleep as low to the ground (or ground floor) as you can go. Consider purchasing an air mattress for summertime sleeping, and set it up in the basement or living room on sweltering nights. Or simply take your mattress off the bed or loft and place it on the floor of your bedroom next to a fan.
- Wear a Cooling Vest.
Cooling technology is not just for athletes anymore. Believe it or not, for much less than the cost of an A/C unit you can buy a cooling vest to wear outdoors or inside that can keep you cool up to four hours. Snag a variety of cooling sport vests for as low as $25.
- Freeze Your Tootsies Off.
No, not really. But cool them down for sure. Your feet and ankles are sensitive to heat and cold because they have lots of pulse points. For an instant cool down, fill a pot, large bowl, or tub with cold water and dip your feet for a few minutes. Ah…sweet relief.
- Eat Hot Food. (Hot and Spicy, That Is.)
You definitely want to keep the oven off as much as possible to keep your living space cooler. Instead, opt for salads, sandwiches, and other cool dishes. But did you know hot SPICY food can actually cool you off? It makes you sweat, which cools you down. So keep the oven off, but keep the hot sauce handy.
- Going Outdoors? Go Early, Go Late and Go Covered.
Keep outdoor activity to a minimum during the hottest times of the day. Instead, go out in the mornings (before 10 am) and in the evenings (after 6pm). When you do go outdoors, be sure to wear sunscreen. Sunburn actually affects your body’s ability to cool down, so it will keep you hot long after you head back inside.
It’s important to know the signs of heat-related illness. Children and the elderly are especially at risk. Never leave kids or pets in the car (even with the windows cracked), and check on elderly friends, family, and neighbors once or twice a day to make sure they’re safe. For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat. Stay safe and enjoy summer!