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10 Summer Heat Hacks to Stay Cool without an A/C

Summer Heat Hacks to Stay Cool

Finally, the sun is out and the days are long: the summer is here. As exciting as it can be, it can also be pretty warm outside—as well as inside. In fact, this summer is so hot that it has been recorded as the hottest ever on Earth [1].
 
While this extreme heat can certainly be uncomfortable, it can also bring about dangerous consequences such as heat strokes which can happen when your body temperature goes up too quickly. These heat strokes can even be fatal as they can damage your vital organs [2].
 
An air conditioner is one of the best options to keep off this summer heat, but not everyone has this luxury. Even more, A/Cs use a substantial amount of electricity and contribute to global warming which makes matters worse [3].


 
Here are simple—and affordable— hacks to stay cool during this summer season without an A/C. We have divided this list into two: things that you can do to keep your house from heating up and then the things that you can do to keep your body cool.
 
First, here’s what you can do to maintain a low temperature inside your house:

1. Use a fan. 

    Yes, fans also use electricity but it’s considerably less than an A/C [4]. Plus, fans are comparatively cheaper than an A/C, and thus are more affordable.
     
    Fans work by creating an airflow around your skin and taking off the heat with it. You can also make a little DIY A/C unit by placing a bowl of ice in front of your fan.

    2. Open your windows to allow air circulation.

    Speaking of airflow, if your house has poor ventilation, it can feel warm inside. Crack open a window or two to let air circulate throughout the building to cool it down. If you’re worried about bugs, you can install mesh screens to cover your windows, thus preventing any insects from coming inside while still letting in air. 

    3. Keep the sun-facing windows covered.

      While opening up windows can welcome a cool breeze into your house, harsh and direct sunlight coming through sun-facing windows can heat up the area. Keeping these windows covered can prevent temperature build-up inside your house. You can use either blinds or blackout curtains to block the sun. 

      4. Use your oven sparingly. 

        You might love a good chicken roast but the heat from your oven can raise the temperature of your kitchen and even the other areas of your house. It’s best to use the oven only occasionally during these warm summer months. Don’t worry, you can do it with a little planning ahead. You can also use smaller appliances such as air fryers and slow cookers which won’t heat up your apartment as much as an oven.
         
        Now, let’s move on to the things that you can do to keep your body cool...

        5. Take a shower.

        If you want to immediately feel cool, jump in the shower. Although your first thought will be to turn the dial to the cold setting, scientists suggest that a warmer shower could keep you cooler in the long term than a cold shower [5]. Of course, a cold shower will cool you off instantly but the effect is only temporary. A warmer shower, on the other hand, will encourage blood flow to the skin, thus removing more heat from the body. Apparently, this will cool down your body for a longer time than a cold shower does [6].

        6. Spray your skin with water. 

        Keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby and mist your body whenever the heat strikes. Water will evaporate, absorbing heat from your skin and thus cooling off your body. 

        7. Place a damp cloth on your body.

        Wet a washcloth or a hankie with water and place it on your skin to feel immediate relief from the heat. Target places such as the back of your neck and your wrists where the blood vessels are closer to the skin to speed up the cooling down effect.

        8. Watch what you wear.

        Wear loose clothes made out of thin, cotton fabrics. Cotton fabrics wick away moisture, so they can allow sweat to evaporate more quickly than other materials such as polyester. Also, the less coverage, the better—you need to keep your skin exposed to let the heat radiate off your skin.

        9. Plan your workout times wisely.

        Exercising in the heat can put an extra strain on your body. It’s best to do your workouts in the early mornings or late afternoons when the outside temperature is much lower.

        10. Drink lots of water.
          Finally, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of water or other similar fluids to replenish the water you lose through sweat. You can lose up to 3-4 liters of water per hour through sweat—especially if you work out [7]. Therefore, it’s important to refill your reserves to keep your body cool.
           
           
          References:
           
          [1]         “Monday was hottest day for global average temperature on record, as climate crisis bites | Extreme weather | The Guardian.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/04/monday-was-hottest-day-for-global-average-temperature-on-record-as-climate-crisis-bites
          [2]         “Dangers of summer heat - Mayo Clinic News Network.” https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/the-dangers-of-summer-heat/
          [3]         “News Release: Scientists Show Large Impact of Controlling Humidity on Greenhouse Gas Emissions | News | NREL.” https://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2022/nrel-shows-impact-of-controlling-humidity-on-greenhouse-gas-emissions.html
          [4]         “Ceiling Fans vs. Air Conditioning: Electricity Use - Ceiling Fans Direct Online.” https://www.ceilingfansdirect.com.au/blog/ceiling-fans-vs-air-conditioning-electricity-use
          [5]         “Trouble Sleeping? Try A Warm Bath To Cool Down : Shots - Health News : NPR.” https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/07/25/745010965/a-warm-bedtime-bath-can-help-you-cool-down-and-sleep-better
          [6]         “Health Check: do cold showers cool you down?” https://theconversation.com/health-check-do-cold-showers-cool-you-down-71004
          [7]         “Water Requirements During Exercise in the Heat - Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments - NCBI Bookshelf.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236237/

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