Summertime is a great time to be outside and enjoy the sunshine. But sometimes the summer heat can be too much. When it’s hot and humid, like most summer days, it’s easy for us to get overheated, which in turn can lead to serious heat-related illness.
High temperatures are especially dangerous for the elderly, pets, and young kids. So, if you’re sending the kids out to play, or if you’re planning to be outdoors enjoying summer fun for an extended period of time, watch for signs of overheating and follow these tips to cool down quickly.
1. Drink cool liquids.
The more water you drink, the better your body is able to regulate heat by sweating. Even better than water – especially if you’re starting to overheat – is coconut water. It has additional vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Also, try cold peppermint tea. Peppermint has a natural cooling effect. Put a peppermint tea bag into a glass filled with ice water, stir and drink.
Note: By the time you feel thirsty, you most likely are dehydrated. Try to drink water on a regular basis to stay hydrated.
2. Eat a frozen summer snack.
Who doesn’t love a popsicle on a hot summer day? These treats do double duty; they’re delicious and they help to cool you down. Frozen smoothies also are a yummy alternative, or try frozen fruit like watermelon wedges. You can even make your own ice cube popsicles with fruit and fruit juice.
3. Apply ice to parts of your body.
If you’re feeling hot or ill from the heat, ice can help. Take an ice pack, or an ice cube wrapped in a covering, and apply it to parts of your body. Look for places where your veins are closest to the surface; that will help cool you the quickest. Try the insides of your wrist, your neck, chest, and temples.
4. Find cool water.
Take a dip in the pool or lake. Run through the sprinklers. Get sprayed by the hose. Put your wrists under cold running water. Take a room-temperature bath. All of this will help to cool down your body. You can also soak two washcloths in cold water. Wring them out; put one around your neck and the other on top of the inside of your wrists.
5. Make your own cooling spray.
Fill a spray bottle with one part aloe vera gel and three parts cold water. Shake it up and you have a cooling body spray.
Pro tip: Keep the cooling spray in a chilled metal bottle to keep it cooler longer.
6. Create a cross breeze.
Place a fan across the room from a window. The breeze coming in will be caught up by the fan and circulated. Set up more fans around the room for an even greater cooling effect.
7. Eat spicy foods.
It may seem counterintuitive, but eating spicy foods can cool you down. That’s because spicy foods increase your blood circulation and help you sweat. Sweat in turn cools you down. So, enjoy that kick of spicy summer salsa!
8. Get out of the heat.
Get to a shady area, or better yet, inside to the air conditioning. Then, use one of the other techniques listed above to help cool down. Call for medical help if needed. See below for guidance.
9. Protect your pets.
Our pets get hot too, especially our fur babies. If your pet is going to be out in the sun with you,
follow our heat safety tips for pets.
Know the signs of overheating
There are 3 stages of overheating, each progressively more dangerous than the previous one. according to the CDC. Stages 1 and 2 are usually able to be managed at home. Stage 3 requires medical attention.
- Stage 1 (Heat Cramps): You may feel tired, dizzy, and dehydrated, and your muscles may cramp.
What to do: Rest and rehydrate. Drink water or something with electrolytes. Massage the affected muscles and wait for the cramps to go away.
- Stage 2 (Heat Exhaustion): Headaches, nausea, vomiting, and heavy sweating are symptoms of heat exhaustion.
What to do: Move to a cool place. Stop all activity and drink water or something with electrolytes. If the symptoms last for more than an hour, seek medical help.
- Stage 3 (Heat Stroke): You will stop sweating, even though you feel extremely hot. You may feel confused. You could breathe fast. You might have a seizure.
What to do: Heat stroke can cause permanent brain damage or even death.
Go to the hospital immediately.
Stay safe and have a fun summer!
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