(eLivingtoday.com) Keeping cool when temperatures soar can be about more than just comfort – although that’s an important consideration, too. Too much exposure can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and staying cool is particularly important for those more vulnerable to heat, such as children, the elderly and those with health problems.
Consider these ideas to help you keep cool, even when the sun is shining its brightest.
Avoid the Sun During Hottest Times
While it may seem like common sense, staying out of the sun when it’s at its hottest is oftentimes easier said than done. When possible, limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when temperatures are usually the highest. Instead try and schedule activities for earlier in the morning or in the evening. If you must go outside during this warmer period, try and limit direct exposure with sunscreen and hats.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Increasing your water intake during hot weather is essential for keeping cool. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, continue to hydrate when the temperature is at its warmest. While sports drinks can help replenish lost vitamins and electrolytes, substituting them in place of water is unnecessary. Sugary drinks like juices and soda, however, decrease your ability to store water and should be avoided in warm weather, as should alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, which are natural diuretics.
Close Curtains and Blinds
The sun’s rays convert to heat, so it’s best to try and block as many of the rays coming into your home as possible, particularly during peak hours when the sun is at its highest point. Closing curtains and blinds, lowering shades or even temporarily blocking windows in direct sunlight can significantly reduce the heat in your house to keep the temperature down. Awnings and shrubbery planted near windows can also reduce the amount of direct heat coming in without blocking out all of the natural light.
Wear Lighter Clothing
Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing can help keep you cooler. Fabrics like cotton and linen tend to keep you cooler by absorbing moisture while synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, trap moisture, which makes the fabric feel heavier, stick to your skin and restrict air flow. If your clothing is light in color, even better, as lighter colors better reflect heat and sunlight.
Choose Cooling Foods
Opt for lighter meals that don’t require your body to work as hard to break down the food. Think salads, vegetables and fruits, like watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumbers, which contain loads of water, are easy to digest and don’t need to be cooked – which can also help keep your home’s temperature down by avoiding turning on the oven or stove.
Find more tips for keeping cool at eLivingtoday.com.