How Best To Stay Cool In Scorching Hot Weather

With heatwaves becoming more common and more intense, it's super important to know how to stay cool in hot weather.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

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Regardless of any one individual’s stance on climate change, there is one thing that is irrevocably evident – the world is getting warmer. And because it’s getting warmer adverse weather effects are beginning to emerge. One of these effects includes prolonged periods of intense heat. Recently, nearly 25,000 people overseas were forced to flee their homes due to sustained temperatures topping 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Dealing with that kind of heat is no joke, and not many parts of the world will escape the sweltering effects. This makes it exceedingly important to know how to stay cool when the hottest temperatures ensue. 

One of the most effective ways to stay cool in super hot weather, especially if you are outdoors, is to pay keen attention to how hydrated you are. The body sweats as means to cool itself down, however, this process causes an individual to dehydrate faster the hotter it is. This is why it is essential to consistently sip water. And, for the most part, sticking to just water is your best bet to staying hydrated. The one exception is if you are exercising, if this is the case then sports drinks can help replenish any nutrients lost through strenuous activity.

Drinking water consistently is an essential component of staying cool in hot weather. However, there are a couple of things to note. First, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. This might lead to you drinking water in large amounts. When liquid is consumed in large quantities the body doesn’t hold onto it as well. It’s far better to sip liquid a little at a time. Second, drinking very cold beverages can actually shock your body. If this happens your intestines and stomach could adversely react and cause things such as vomiting and diarrhea. “If that happens,…you would lose a lot of electrolytes,” said George Havenith, a Professor of Environmental Physiology and Ergonomics at Loughborough University.

Additionally, just as you shouldn’t down large quantities of liquid at once, it’s best to keep meals as light as possible. Stick to salads and fruits. Owen Jeffries, the lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Newcastle University, explained that lighter foods take less energy to digest. Conversely, “…more complex foods will ultimately actually produce more heat in the body as they’re broken down,” said Jeffries.

For those without air conditioning looking for a way to stay cool indoors, the best thing that you can use is a fan. To maximize coolness Insider recommends putting a bowl of ice cubes in front of it, that way bursts of cool air will blow as the ice melts. The one caveat with using a fan, however, is that it is not recommended for use in temperatures that exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lastly, and perhaps the most obvious and intuitive trick to keeping cool is to immerse yourself in cool water. If you can jump into a pool. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, leverage the ocean. When home, take a cool shower. And if you are outdoors without access to a body of water, wet your extremities. Overall, the art of staying cool in the heat really comes down to common sense. Pay attention to your body and try not to over-exert yourself in weather that is not conducive to exertion of any kind.