Staying Cool Without Air Conditioning

As the temperature climbs, it’s essential to keep cool for your health. Depending on where you live, it might already be hot. Here in southern California, we have a strange weather phenomenon called May Gray and June Gloom. We tend to get cloudy, cool and sometimes downright cold weather for a couple of months. But, we know that in our giant country, most people have put away their sweaters and are getting ready to turn on the air conditioning.

The problem is, not everyone has a/c. In the high heat of the summer, that can be a big problem. Today, we are taking a look at how to stay cool and comfortable without a/c. We all know about using fans, and trying to keep out of the sun, but there are more tricks than that!

The first step is something you should be doing regardless of the weather all year round: stay hydrated. Being hydrated helps your body keep its temperature regulated properly and it will keep it functioning correctly. When you become dehydrated, you feel the effects of the heat more readily and will suffer more. Drinking cold water is more refreshing in the moment. But your body will rapidly heat it, so it doesn’t make a difference what temperature the water is. Room temperature water is just as hydrating as cold, but cold may give you a moment’s respite from the heat.

In addition to drinking water, cool and cold showers and baths can help lower your core body temperature and help you feel more comfortable. While some people may suggest using mint soap, we would pause that idea. Mint oils tell your brain you feel cold — which is lovely — but if you have even the most minor cut, it can be excruciating. The price may not be worth the reward! Outside of the bathroom, cold washrags and icepacks can be used on your wrists, neck and ankles to cool off. These areas have blood vessels close to the surface of your body and help you cool down more quickly.

You should also use your time wisely. If you want fresh air in your home, open your doors and windows in the cold morning or night. Remember that pointing a fan out of the windows can force hot air to leave your home more effectively than trying to pull cool air in. Then, before the day gets hot, batten down the hatches and close your blinds during the hot daylight hours. Up to 30 percent of unwanted heat in your home comes from the windows — it’s like being in a greenhouse. You should also look at what rooms get the warmest and close them off from the rest of the house. One person on our team has a kitchen that gets boiling every morning from the sun. She hung up a thick curtain between the kitchen and living room, and there is a four-degree temperature difference!

When it comes to cooking, do it during the cooler hours, outdoors or swap to salads and other no-cook options. Any meals that don’t add extra heat to your home are great. And, low-carb popsicles are a fantastic way to stay hydrated and get a short blast of coolness.

There is an odd “hack” of making your bedsheets damp and freezing them. We see it all over the place. Your body heat will melt them in a matter of moments, and then you will just have clingy, damp sheets. Instead, use thin, breathable, dry cotton sheets to get the best night’s sleep possible.

And, of course, try to take advantage of free A/C any time you can. For a year, movie theaters, malls and other air-conditioned spaces have only been open in limited ways. Try and find places to walk and spend time where you can get some exercise in a temperature-controlled environment. Your body will thank you for the activity and the a/c!    

Banner image: Ava Sol via Unsplash

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