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Here are some simple and straightforward ideas about how to cool down and stay safe on a hot day. Many of these suggestions are very practical and can be used without access to electricity, particularly useful if there happens to be a blackout, you're outdoors or you lack access to power. Keep your cool in the heat of the day.
- Drink lots of cold drinks. Water is the best but cool liquids of any type will help to cool you down.
- Keep still and quiet. This is not a good time for exercising, sports or running around. Keep these activities for the evening when the air becomes cooler and the sun goes down.
- Stay in the shade. Read a good book, sit still or take a nap.
- Open the windows to let in a breeze. Use screens to keep out insects if they are a problem.
- Go swimming. If you can, select a shady body of water.
- Have a cold shower or bath. Even a small amount of water sprayed or splashed on you can help. Or try a face washer dipped in cold water and held against your face and forehead for instant cooling relief. Wet towels if you need to cool all of your body and wrap your legs, torso and arms with them.
- Wet your hair with cold water every half an hour.
- Use fans. Fans keep the air circulating and produce a small cooling effect. Place a wet face cloth on the fan to produce a mini air-conditioning effect. Be careful to sit the wet face washer only on the outer cage part of the fan so that it cannot be caught by the fan blades and do not leave the room without taking it off.
- Try and get used to the heat. Try to do this without relying on fans too much. That way, you can be more independent of relying on any electrical equipment, something that become very important should there be a summer blackout.
- Apply lots of sun protection lotion throughout the day. The protective function of such lotion only lasts for a few hours and less when you are in water. Reapply frequently for best coverage. Do not rely on it alone, however. Always combine with wearing a hat, long-sleeved clothing and keeping out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- Wear a hat and don't expose too much skin. Long-sleeved shirts made of cotton, hemp and other natural fabrics will help deflect the sun's rays and protect your skin. A broad-brimmed hat is essential to protect your face and to create some shade over your head.
- Keep inside or in the shade when the sun is at its height. Don't go outside if you can help it between 11 o' clock and 3 o' clock, as these are the hours during which the sun is at its strongest.
- If you get a headache, drink lots of water and stay in the shade. Lie down if you feel faint.
- Use Factor 30 or above sunscreen lotion and if you are going swimming or in the sea use waterproof sunscreen lotion but still reapply afterwards.
- Always be attentive to the elderly who can suffer heat exhaustion quickly and are not always able to complain that they feel bad. Make sure that elderly people you know are in a comfortable, cool place and have access to water, cool air and open windows. If you know of someone who may not be able to look after themselves and you cannot help them yourself, contact someone who can help them, such as a relative, a building owner or even local authorities.
- Keep an eye on your companion animals as well, to make sure that they do not suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration. Leave water bowls around for them and other animals in your garden or yard. See also How to Prevent Heatstroke in Dogs.
- If you sunbathe, reapply sunscreen cream more often than you think you need to. Water washes the sunscreen lotion off.
- Read the labels of sunscreen cream very carefully. Be informed about the ingredients and make sure they are suitable for your skin.
- Dehydration is a serious condition.
Sources and Citations
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