We have started off the summer season sizzling! Temperatures have already broken the 100s across the state. When air conditioning is not readily available, it can be miserable trying to battle the heat. Naturally, our bodies start to sweat to help regulate our body temperature and help it from overheating. When we perspire and the sweat hits the air, it starts to evaporate. That evaporation is a cooling process. It is a similar effect to when you step out of the shower or the pool and you feel chilled. Heat energy is being used to change the liquid to a gaseous state which then leads to evaporative cooling and causes the surface to sweat or water to cool.
We try to maximize these effects as much as possible to keep our bodies cooler but sometimes we have to get creative and use other ways to keep our body temperature a bit cooler during the heat of the summer. Using fans is one of the most popular ways to create a wind chill effect. If you have ceiling fans in your home, you want to make sure they are turning counterclockwise during the summer months. This will cause the air to rush down to the surface. To know whether your fans are turning the right direction, stand directly underneath them. If you can feel air hitting your skin, then they are set in the correct position. If you do not feel any air, then look for a switch to change the direction on the motor.
If you have multiple fans at your disposal, setting them up in different parts of the room you are occupying will help to create a cross-breeze. You can also set up a casserole dish or roasting pan with ice and have a fan blow over the top. As the ice melts and evaporates, it cools the air above the dish and the fan will help to disperse that cooler air.
Speaking of ice, popsicles, ice cream and other frozen treats are not only tasty, but can help cool your body from the inside out on a hot summer day. Not to mention, it is a great excuse to enjoy some classic summer treats! Taking cool showers or spending time in a cooler pool can help bring your body temperature down. Some folks even put bedsheets or socks in a freezer bag and toss them in the freezer for a little bit before bedtime to help make it more comfortable to sleep on warm nights. If you need to cool down quickly, especially if outside on a hot day, applying cool compresses can help to quickly find relief from the heat. Find those pulse points like the wrists and neck, dip a towel or rag in cold water, ring it out and place it on those locations. The elbows, knees and ankles are also places where cool compresses can make a difference.
We have all heard the saying, “warm air rises.” During the summer months, this can make a huge difference in terms of where the heat collects in your home. If you live in an apartment complex on a higher floor or have a multi-story home, you have likely experienced this. As the afternoon heats up, the warmer air will collect in the upper floors of a home which can make sleeping difficult at night. If possible, sleep on a lower floor of your home. Keeping curtains and blinds closed from where the sun shines into your home during the day can help keep the temperature from climbing too much. If you do this, make sure that once the sun goes down, you open the blinds and windows to allow any heat that did collect in your apartment or home to escape outside during the night to allow in somewhat cooler temperatures.
Also, be sure to minimize heat producing appliances in your home during peak heating hours, if at all possible. The oven, stove, dishwasher – if the heat drying setting is on – and the dryer will all create more heat inside your home. It is best to wait until after sundown and the outside temperature starts to drop to use these appliances. Avoid exercising during the heat of the day is also important. Keep strenuous outdoor activities confined to the early morning and late evenings. Try to get that workout in earlier in the day rather than closer to bedtime can be ideal because it will keep your body from being too warm to sleep comfortably. Wearing cotton pajamas and using cotton sheets will allow more air to flow and can make sleeping with the windows open at night a bit more pleasant.
We say this all the time, but staying hydrated does make a difference in helping your body stay cooler. Water is just one piece of the puzzle to help your body regulate its body temperature. If you are sweating, you are losing water from your body to the environment around you and that sweat is trying to help keep you cooler. To avoid getting dehydrated, you need to replenish those fluids so that your body can continue to function at its best to safely battle the summertime heat.
— Meteorologist Erika Paige