Keep Cool When It’s Hot

Keep Cool When It's HotKeeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn’t just about comfort. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following tips can help you keep cool all summer long. The grass is always greener on the other side, and that’s especially true when it comes to seasons. During the winter, all you want is a warm summer day. But when the August heat hits, you remember how hard it is to look your best as your makeup slides south, your hair goes north, and your skin becomes a sticky oil slick. Real Simple consulted a team of health and beauty experts and busy women who live in the warmest climates for ideas on how to beat the heat and look good while doing so. After all, it’s summertime—and right now the grass really is greener.

  1. Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
  2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
  3. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
  4. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  5. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
  6. Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
  7. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
  8. Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
  9. Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
  10. Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
  11. I learned this trick from a tennis pro: if you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
  12. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
  13. Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won’t have to cook next to a hot stove.
  14. If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
  15. Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.

How the Heat Affects You

“People in Chicago and New York suffer more in heat waves than people in Georgia do, because they aren’t used to the heat,” says Charlotte Grayson Mathis, M.D., an internist and a former senior medical editor of WebMD. Southerners also know what to do when the thermostat spikes: They stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest hours of the day, wear loose clothing and little makeup, and drink plenty of fluids.

Your body temperatures rises when outdoor temperatures go up, explains Mathis. To maintain a normal, comfortable temperature, your body needs to release heat through its pores. A little perspiration is good. Excessive sweating, however, can cause dehydration, which dominoes into a sour mood, irritability, and sluggishness. (In extreme circumstances, it can even make a person delusional.) That’s why it’s important to keep your body temperature down before you go outside. Not only will it help you look cool but you’ll also feel more comfortable once you’re out and about.

One trick to try: Place skin-care supplies in the refrigerator before hopping in the shower, suggests Joanna Schlip, a Los Angeles makeup artist. That way, after you’re dry, you can smooth on the cool products to refresh your skin. Or take it a step further: “One trick I learned is to put the metal jewelry I’m going to wear—my bracelet, necklace, and earrings—in the freezer before going to a fancy event,” says Lara Koslow, a real estate executive in Los Angeles. “The jewelry holds the chill for a while and keeps your skin cool.”

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