18 Effective Ways To Beat Extreme Heat | Healthy Mind - Think Big

Did you know that extreme heat kills more than 600 people in the United States each year? What’s more, it puts others at risk of heat-related illness, especially adults aged 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions.

Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average. Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. And in today’s post, we will tell you the best ways to reduce body heat. From putting on sunscreen, dressing in loose clothes, staying hydrated, and optimizing your windows to applying a cold compress and more, read till the end to learn about all of them.

1. Go easy on the caffeine: Many of us love the morning boost that a good cup of coffee provides. But when a heat wave is on, don’t overdo it on the caffeine, as that can cause dehydration. Don’t forget that energy drinks usually have a healthy dose as well, so even if you think you need it to get through a tough afternoon, avoid it when you’re trying to beat the heat. How much coffee do you drink every day? Tell us quickly down below in the comments section!

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2. Layer on sunscreen: You want to make sure you protect your skin from the sun. Even if you’re properly dressed, it’s impossible not to have some skin exposed. Make sure you apply sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 and keep layering it on throughout the day. Pay careful attention to the most burn-prone areas, which are your nose, ears, and the back of your neck. Since you’re not just chilling out at the beach but working hard in that hot sun, you need to be especially diligent. Sweat can wash away sunscreen or at least reduce the amount of protection it provides, so keep re-applying.

3. Make Sure You Are Sweating: Sweating is a sign that your body is functioning like it should as it tries to reduce its temperature through evaporation. In fact, if you’re battling heat and you suddenly stop sweating, it’s a warning sign for heatstroke. So, don’t be concerned about sweating on hot days, but get to the shade if you notice it stops.

4. Spray Yourself With Cold Water: Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt. It's all about thermal regulation. As the water evaporates, it cools you. While elephants wet their ears first by blasting water from their trunks, humans should begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.

5. Dress In Loose Clothes: Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat. If you prefer cotton, make it thin, light-colored, and loose. The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from the skin to the air. The next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to your clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with evaporation. Interested yet? Make sure you join our millions of followers and hit that Subscribe button for all our great Healthy Mind - Think Big content!

6. Eat Something Spicy: People who live in scorching climates, like Mexico and India, know eating hot stuff can cool you down. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that helps us to perspire more readily. When this sweat evaporates, you experience brief relief.

7. Take A Lukewarm Shower: Taking a cold shower in hot weather seems relaxing and comforting, but scientists suggest that this makes you feel even hotter. That's because when you take a cool shower your body has to work harder to warm up again. Studies suggest that warm water cools your bloodstream. So, opting for it is a better option.

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8. Eat Light Meals: Eating heavy meals can also generate heat in the body and make you feel uncomfortable. After a large meal, your body has to work harder to digest the food and metabolise it. This eventually increases your core temperature and makes you feel sweaty and lethargic. Eat light, freshly cooked meals in the summer. Cut down on processed and salty foods.

9. Avoid the sun between 11am to 2pm: The sun is the hottest between 11am and 2pm, and sunburns are most likely to happen during that period. Limiting your exposure will limit your chances of overheating. If you can’t get around being outside during those hours, make sure you dress appropriately and apply sunscreen.

10. Make everything mintier: Varieties of mint are capable of creating an illusion of feeling cool when it may be scorching hot. It's a good idea to eat mints after meals and get your hands on a mint-scented air freshener. You can also add mint leaves to your water and dab some peppermint essential oil on your body after a cold shower.

11. Optimize Your Windows: You might not need to run your air conditioner if you pay a little more attention to your windows in the summer. Close the windows and use insulated drapes to keep the sun out during the day and open them at night when the sun is down. You can also hang a damp towel in front of the window to cool the air flowing into your home.

12. Don't ignore the warning signs: Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the heat can simply overwhelm you. Stay alert for the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, goosebumps on the skin, muscle cramps, and headache. Heat exhaustion is a precursor to more serious heat stroke. It can typically be identified by a lack of sweating, nausea and vomiting, mental confusion, flushed skin, rapid breathing, and a racing pulse. If you sense that you are suffering from heat exhaustion, get out of the sun. If you believe it has moved on to the more serious heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately. Remember to always err on the side of caution when working outside in the heat; your health is too important.

13. Apply cold compresses: If you feel yourself getting heated, apply cold compresses or ice packs on key zones of your body, such as your neck and wrist. However, it’s important not to apply ice directly to the skin as it can cause an ice burn. Instead, keep a layer between your skin and the cold source. You can also take a cool shower, but avoid sudden changes of temperature. An abrupt drop in temperature can be harmful to the body.

14. Try To Stay Indoors: Avoid going outside on hot days. If you must go out to get groceries, do it earlier in the day or in the evening when the temperature is more pleasant. Don’t exercise or do lots of activities outdoors when it’s getting too hot. If you need to go out in the sun, it’s important to apply sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. Plan your week ahead. If you have appointments on 100 degrees plus days, reschedule if not urgent. If you have to go outside, stand in the shade wherever possible. Avoid crowded places. If you are driving, keep your car cool by parking in a shady area or using a windshield sun shade or dash cover. Leave the doors and windows open before getting into your car which will help circulate air flow and prevent you from getting heat stroke.

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15. Stay Hydrated: To replace the moisture you lose as you perspire, be sure to drink water. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Also, opt for hydrating foods. Try a smoothie for lunch, and add more fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content of any food out there. It’s very important to drink enough water every day.

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16. Use Smart Climate Control Appliances: Deciding whether to leave your air conditioning on before going to work every morning is a task in itself. You have to consider the weather, not to mention the energy use and burden on your wallet. However, coming home to a hot, humid place doesn’t sound feasible either. In this scenario, consider investing in a smart thermostat or AC controller. These smart devices are not just for temperature regulation. You can control humidity levels, set weekly schedules in advance, and remotely control your AC using your phone.

17. Take a Dip: Swimming in cold water reduces your body’s temperature and relaxes your mind. If exercising in the heat stresses you out, you can always opt for a swim. It helps you stay fit without increasing your body temperature.

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18. Avoid Heat During Workout: Exercising in the heat is a big no. The temperature and the exercise itself raise your core body temperature. This increases the chances of heat cramps or heat stroke. If you are someone who goes for a run at 8 am, consider changing your schedule. The morning sun is harsh, either go at 6 am or at night when the temperature has cooled down a bit. You can also get a gym membership or create a small gym in your home to avoid exercising in the heat altogether. One of the best ways to beat the heat indoors is to have more plants around.

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What’s your favourite drink to beat the heat? Let us know in the comments section below!

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

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