Survival Tips to Beat the Heat

by Aileen

man sleeping Summer’s heat is still sweeping through parts of the country, and at times it can be quite fierce! Not all homes have air-conditioning and it can be mighty hard to function when it’s over 90 degrees inside.

We don’t have an air conditioning system in our home, and usually that’s fine because of  the cool breezes we get. But over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a few days when I’ve had to draw upon my past experiences in New York City where I barely survived those sweltering summers.

In New York, I lived on the fifth floor of an old walk-up (no elevator) apartment. There was no air-conditioning and I couldn’t afford to buy a window unit version. So over time, that heat would just rise up and intensify in my apartment. In those days, I left the apartment around 6am and returned home around 8pm and sleeping in that heat was impossible. I am forever grateful for a neighbor of mine who was kind enough to share with me a few heat wave survival tips. I’ve added a few of my own over the years and I’ve compiled the best list for you!

Survival Tips:

(1) Cover the windows – During the day, keep the windows covered. Close the blinds, the curtains or hang a sheet over the window to keep the strong sun out.

(2) Use fans wisely – If it’s scorching hot outside have the fan blowing directly on you. The ‘two fans in opposite windows’ technique is only good when it’s cooler outside than inside.

(3) Avoid caffeine or alcohol – Although tasty, they do dehydrate the body. Instead, drink lots of water. You may want to add some flavor such as  lemon, cucumber, or maybe an orange. What is often unknown is that adding fruit to water helps balance the ph levels and provides electrolytes. This means we can actually get the benefits of hydration. When we drink caffeine then water, the water just passes through our system without really hydrating us.

(4) Splash Dance – You might need to do this a few times in the day, but it works! Just hop in the shower for a one-minute splash down and be sure to get your hair wet. A cool head helps a lot.

(5) Mist-ify Yourself – Mist yourself with a water-filled spray bottle or use a wet washcloth over your arms, face, neck, etc.  A little bit of water does wonders!

(6) Wet T-shirt – It may sound silly, but it works!

(7) Wear light cotton or linen – Being naked isn’t the best option. A light layer of clothing actually is more beneficial for keeping in the moisture.

(8) Eat light – Prepare a salad or a cold sandwich and do get enough protein! Do not cook with a stove or oven because it will heat the house even more.

(9) Go fruity– I like frozen blueberries or a frozen banana when it’s super hot. It’s best to have the banana already peeled and wrapped in wax paper when it goes into the freezer. It’s hard to peel a frozen banana. You can also make flavored water ice-cube popsicles. Just don’t use Kool-Aid or other sugar mixes. It’s best to use actual fruit.

(10) Wet towel – This is my all time favorite. It’s the miracle that allowed me to sleep in those scorching New York summer nights! If you need to sleep and it’s too hot, sleep on a wet towel or even sandwich yourself between two wet towels, one under you and one over you while the fan is blowing directly on you.

I write these tips because I know we can’t just hang out in a mall all day. We have to go home sometime and when it’s over 90 degrees indoors, these tips have worked wonders for me! Tried and true, I love them all and pass them on to you!

** Although these tips can help, there’s no need to test your limits. If you are feeling nauseated, dizzy, light headed, or developing a rash then call a doctor as soon as possible. You might have heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Also if you live near an elderly or disabled person who you think needs checking-in on, please do so.

What are your favorite tips to beat the heat?


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Sarauer August 3, 2010

Aileen, these are fabulous tips! We’re having some steamy weather in Wisconsin, so the timing couldn’t be better. Our summers are so short here that I hate to plug up our windows with air conditioners (we have three!), so we’ve decided to ‘go natural’ this summer.

Ceiling fans are a huge help for us. My husband replaced the overhead lights in most of our rooms with these, and I can’t believe the difference. Most days we’re really comfortable despite the temps.
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..How to Grow Your Blog With Kindness

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Aileen August 3, 2010

Ceiling fans are fantastic!! Great tip :) thanks for adding that

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Adena Atkins August 3, 2010

Perhaps joining the lad in the fridge is a good way to deal with the heat?
Adena Atkins´s last [type] ..First Thing In The Morning

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Aileen August 3, 2010

Hi Adena I actually have refrigerated the pillow case before & it works….another version of sleeping in the fridge. Thank you for stopping by!

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Clearly Composed August 3, 2010

Wonderful list of very timely tips. May I add it’s important to think of our pets in the heat too and make sure all their needs are met. :)

Oh…and ceiling fans are the best!
Clearly Composed´s last [type] .. The Life Journey- Do You Trust Your Ride

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Aileen August 5, 2010

Thank you for adding the thoughts of pets!!! SO very, very important!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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emily August 3, 2010

:) The young fella in the fridge is hilarious!! Love the idea of putting the pillow case in the refrigerator. :) We put the kiddie pool on our shady patio when it is hot and although only ankle deep cool water really cools us off. : ) It was bliss.

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Aileen August 5, 2010

great use of a kiddie pool …. hmmm, you got me thinking :)

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Preeti @ Heart and Mind August 3, 2010

I like the picture of a guy sleeping with fridge door open!

My best bet for staying cool is

1. Run around with sprinkler’s on with kids
2. Make ice cold coffee with ice and chocolate and drink under the shade of gazebo.
Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..No Spend Month Challenge- Update and Take away from the experiment

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Aileen August 5, 2010

Preeti, I love that – I remember running through the sprinkler when I was a kid. That felt so fun. oh and thought of being under a gazebo with a yummy drink ahhhhhhhhhhh

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Françoise August 5, 2010

Hi Aileen,
thanks for the nice tips, depending on how and where you live there might be a simple trick available.
After closing the blinds (os imply the windows) keep an exe on the indoor and outdoor temperature.
As long as it is warmer outside than inside keep the windows closed. We often think that it helps to open the windows as we feel the breeze – but often it simply brings hot air inside

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Aileen August 5, 2010

Thank you Francoise!

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Hulbert Lee August 6, 2010

Haha, love this post! When I was in Taiwan, it would get up to the 90 degrees in the summer (they use Celsius) and not only was it hot, but it was humid! So you could expect stickiness too! It must be crazy to live that high where the heat rises. I live in a two story house and it gets very hot. I wouldn’t want to imagine what it was like in at the fifth floor! At least we both our sort of near the beach. Nice post and thanks for the cool down tips Aileen. :)

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Aileen August 10, 2010

Thank you Hulbert – glad it gave you some summer memories!

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Leah McClellan August 7, 2010

Great tips Aileen! We’ve had a hugely hot summer here in southern New Jersey–every day over 90 for a long time, 80 at night…finally, it’s reasonable at 70 for nighttime temps.

I lived in a third floor walk up without AC for a couple of years, and it was tough. I haven’t had AC for most of my life, but I have it now. I keep it at 80, which is fine for me since it dries out the air so much. But upstairs it’s been really hot so I count on a ceiling fan for sleeping. Also soak my feet in cold water for a few minutes before going to bed. That helps a lot.

Wish I had read some of these some years back when I didn’t have AC. The wet towels sound great!
Leah McClellan´s last [type] ..Have You Forgiven Anyone Lately

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Aileen August 10, 2010

Leah, that’s a great tip – Soaking your feet in cold water – thank you for adding that one!!

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ashok August 10, 2010

Put this on Stumbleupon, will put on delicious – these are excellent tips, and your point about the “2-fan technique” is noted. I know a number of people who don’t want to spend on AC who think this magically works and then ignore the fact it is actually getting hotter in the house.
ashok´s last [type] ..Anna Akhmatova- “Reading Hamlet”

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