Even though August is halfway over, if you live in the south like I do, there are still at least 60 additional days of hot weather. Temperatures do not start to lower until October or even November some years. This extended period of summer is hard, especially when you have to be outdoors, or children want to play outside. Luckily, there are many ways you can stay cool while outdoors, even in the fiercest heat.
Free Cooling Tips
The number one gift you can give yourself in extreme heat is the gift of hydration. Drink about twice as much water as you would indoors to keep your body hydrated. Many common sun illnesses often occur due to dehydration, so drink plenty of water to maintain your ideal body temperature while outside in the heat. If simple hydration is not enough for you, try some of these easy ways to stay cool for free:
- Make an ice hat: Wet a hat with cold water and place it on your head. This will provide cooling energy for several minutes or even up to an hour, until the hat dries. If you do not want to get your favorite hat wet, fill a small plastic bag with ice water and put it under your hat to keep your head cool.
- Stay in the shade: This may sound obvious, but if you must be outside in the extreme heat, look for any nearby shade, and stick to that shade as much as possible. Shade temperatures can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the un-shaded ground – if you don’t have any natural shade nearby, make your own with an umbrella or big wide-brimmed hat.
- Play in the sprinklers! Running around and spraying water with a hose isn’t limited to kids – just try to stay in the shade, or the water on your skin could result in a bad sunburn.
- Wear light colors and natural fabrics: Natural fabrics, like cotton and linen, are more breathable than synthetic fabrics. Light colors reflect the sun rather than absorb it. Wear light-colored clothing in natural fabrics and you will definitely feel cooler while outdoors.
Low-Cost Cooling Tips
This stuff’s not free, but as a relatively low-cost option, each of these ideas can make a difference between a fun time outdoors and a miserable experience.
- Take a dip: Buy a small kiddie pool and fill it up with cool water – and then sit in it. If you do not have a kiddie pool, fill a small bucket with cold water and stick your feet in it – add a few ice cubes for additional cooling.
- Eat something cool: Popsicles are a great way to keep cool while outdoors. Freeze kool-aid, diluted juice drinks, or even just plain old ice water in popsicle molds is a fun and inexpensive way to keep cool while outdoors. Children will love the cold ice pops while outdoors as well.
- Cooling water fans: Misting fans are another way to stay cool while outdoors in the summer heat. The fan blows hot air away from your face, and the misting action keeps your skin cool. You can also use a simple spray bottle to mist your face with water if you do not want the fanning action – beware though, this option isn’t very effective if you live in a humid climate. If it’s humid, you’re going to need a fan for sure, even if you have to make one out of paper!
- Wear Evaporative Cooling bands: A cooling band is a piece of fabric designed to provide cooling to the neck or wrists when soaked in cool water. Store-bought bands are usually less than $10, but you can make your own by rolling some ice cubes inside a bandana.
Staying Cool When it’s Hot
How do you keep cool while outdoors in extreme heat?