Blog , Health and Wellness

Staying Cool in Summer Heat

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2024
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

Temperatures are soaring in many parts of the U.S., thus keeping cool is a necessity. When facing record highs, people are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Thus, it’s essential to avoid uncomfortable temperatures that can lead to problems such as heat exhaustion. Here are ways to stay cool in summer heat:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors in the air conditioning and avoid outdoor exposure during peak hours of heat. Note that generally air temperatures increase during the daytime and typically hit the highest points between 3 pm and 6 pm.
  • If you exercise regularly and seek an outdoor workout, decrease your exertion level in the heat. Also, consider shortening the length of your workout. If it’s very hot, exercise in air conditioning instead or reschedule your outdoor workout entirely.
  • In the heat, wear loose-fitting, light-colored, and moisture-wicking clothes. Note that while cotton absorbs sweat, it is not the best summer fabric as moisture from sweat remains in place and keeps the fabric wet. Thus, it can feel uncomfortable. Instead, opt for a breathable and highly wicking fabric such as flowy linen that is made from the fibers of the flax plant.
  • Stay adequately hydrated throughout the day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary beverages.
  • Eat cool foods and avoid cooking hot foods in the oven that heat up the home. For a no-bake chocolate cream pie dessert, click here. (Internal link needed for our chocolate cream pie recipe).
  • Or use a slow cooker to prepare meals rather than a hot oven. Also eat light meals to feel cooler.
  • Use drapes, shades, or awnings to reduce the heat coming into the home.
  • If you use a fan to cool your home, cautions people to make sure windows are open to release trapped hot air.
  • Should you wish to go for a stroll, or walk a pet, do it early in the day or later in the evening when the sun and heat are less intense. Note that the pavement can be hot in the daytime, which is dangerous for pet paws. Report dogs left outdoors with no shade/water in extreme hot weather.
  • Never leave children, pets, or older people alone in vehicles.
  • During code red heat emergencies, contact outreach teams who provide support to the homeless. Always report individuals in distress.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, ask family members or friends with air conditioning if you may visit during periods of heat waves.
  • Or seek out public spaces with air conditioning. This may include a shopping mall, library, coffee shop, movie theater, church or senior center, or museum.
  • Alternatively, during heat health emergencies, many cities and towns open cooling centers. These are air-conditioned spaces available for temporary public use. To find a cooling center near you, contact your local government’s office.
  • Many cities offer free resources for residents. Some feature “heat-lines” to provide health safety tips during heat waves. People may also call and talk to medical professionals about health problems related to heat.
  • Stay informed. One may also sign up for text and email notifications about heat and other state or local emergencies.
  • Recognize signs of heat-related illness. They may include symptoms like muscle cramps, heavy sweating, weakness, weak and rapid pulse, fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, high body temperature, increased heart rate, confusion, unconsciousness or red, hot and dry skin.
  • Note that heatstroke is a very serious health crisis that can lead to death. Thus, anyone experiencing heat-related health emergencies should phone 911 immediately.  
  • Should you be unable to pay your utility bill, but require service, contact your utility service provider. One may apply for bill payment assistance, gain energy counseling, or inquire about special programs.
  • To keep cool, take a cold shower. One may also keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator to refresh the skin. If necessary, apply chilled wet towels to help cool down.
  • If you are planning an outdoor event and a heat wave is expected, move the venue to indoors or reschedule to prioritize safety.
  • If you must be outdoors, protect your skin from sunburn by using broad spectrum sunscreen featuring SPF 30 or more. Take it easy, drink adequate fluids, and limit sun exposure by seeking shade whenever possible.

Dealing with summer heat is particularly challenging for those who lack access to air conditioning. Fortunately, there are wise things people can do to keep safe during uncomfortable and abnormally hot conditions. Additionally, one may depend on local resources to help stay cool.  

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a medical resource or substitute for medical advice. For questions on health and heat-related safety, contact your primary care provider.

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12 days ago

I’m not agreeing with wearing clothes that keep moisture off your skin. Sweat is there to cool you down. This article then contradicts itself by saying to spray water on your skin. What? Just let your body cool itself down as God created it to do.

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