Editor’s Note: This story was first published in 2020 and has been updated.
Whether you’re without power, enduring extreme heat or trying to save money, there are ways to feel comfortable without artificial cooling.
Heat can foster fun summer activities, but the body shouldn’t be too hot for too long, as too much heat can harm your brain and other organs, according to the US National Institutes of Health. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling system, but when that’s not enough, there’s increased risk for developing the heat-related illness hyperthermia – signs of which include heat cramps, heat edema and heat stroke.
Staying cool can be done by using some basic supplies and knowing how to manipulate your home to control its temperatures. Here are 14 methods for doing so.
When you’re hot and flushed, hydrating yourself is the first and foremost step to cooling down, said Wendell Porter, a senior lecturer emeritus in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida.
The temperature of the water doesn’t matter since your body will heat it, he added. If your body is suffering from the heat and needs to cool itself, it can’t do that without enough moisture, since the body cools itself by sweating.
Take a cold shower or bath
Taking a cold shower or bath helps cool your body by lowering your core temperature, Porter said.
For an extra cool blast, try peppermint soap. The menthol in peppermint oil activates brain receptors that tell your body something you’re eating or feeling is cold.
Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists
Place a cold washrag or ice bags (packs) on your wrists or drape it around your neck to cool your body. These pulse points are areas where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you’ll cool down more quickly.
Use box fans
Place box fans facing out of the windows of rooms you’re spending time in to blow out hot air and replace it with cold air inside.
If the weather in your area tends to fall between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings and evenings, opening the windows on both sides of the house during those times can facilitate a cross-flow ventilation system. If you do this, you can opt to use or not use the fans, but the fans would help cool the house faster, Porter said. The outdoors can pull the hot air from your home, leaving a cooler temperature or bringing in the breeze. Just be sure to close windows as the sun comes out, then open them when the weather is cool again.
Just resting near a fan would reduce your body temperature as well.