Summer Heat: 9 Tips to Beat the Heat
Summer is here! While that brings many joys of the season, it also means you may have to endure uncomfortable heat for the next few months. Summer heat can make you feel tired, sticky, and irritable. If you have certain medical conditions, it can also be dangerous.
Here are 9 tips to keep you and your loved ones cooler as temperatures soar:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. One of the best ways to protect yourself from the heat is to stay well hydrated. Drinking water is best, and you should avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar. Keep in mind that you may need to drink more than usual if you are exercising or sweating excessively. Foods with a high water content, like watermelon, are also hydrating.
- Eat lightly. Skip heavy meals or foods with a lot of fat that can tax your digestive system and make you feel sluggish. When it’s hot out, opt for fresh foods with a high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. Salads and smoothies are great choices when the heat is on.
- Make a cold compress. If you find it hard to cool your body down, wet a washcloth with cold water or fill a bag with ice and place it on your forehead, the back of your neck or your wrists for some quick cooling comfort. If you use ice, place a towel between the ice and your skin.
- Spray yourself with water. When temps soar, spritzing yourself with some cool water can keep you comfortable. As the water evaporates on your skin, it cools you.
- Wear light-colored loose clothing. Stick with lighter colors that don’t attract the heat of the sun. Opt for synthetic fabrics that are designed to wick away sweat or wear light and loose-fitting cotton. The goal is to allow the sweat on your skin to evaporate quickly.
- Eat something spicy. You may think that eating spicy foods would heat you up, but it actually has the opposite effect. The capsaicin in hot chili peppers, for example, causes you to sweat more easily. As your sweat evaporates, it helps to cool you down.
- Create your own AC. If you don’t have an air conditioner, place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan to cool off the air that blows through the room.
- Change your exercise routine. You don’t need to stop exercising when it’s hot, but you may need to modify what you do. Switch to activities that don’t cause you to overheat, such as swimming. Opt for an indoor workout in air-conditioning or work out during the coolest part of the day, such as early morning or in the evening.
- Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness. Anyone can feel sick from the heat, but people with heart disease, as well as young children and the elderly, are more at risk because their bodies don’t adapt to the heat as easily. Problems with your cardiovascular system, as well as some medications, may make it harder for your body to cool down when it’s hot. Signs of heat-related illness include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, heavy sweating, flushed skin, rapid heartbeat and thirst.
If you have a medical condition that makes the summer heat difficult for you, talk with your doctor about what you can do to keep yourself safe during these hot summer months. To find a PIH Health physician near you, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.
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