Cool Yourself Without Air Conditioning
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A day without air conditioning? Here's how to cool yourself down before the heat overwhelms your body.
- Just add water. The relief is almost immediate, and will last for up to one hour or more.
- Ball up and soak a t-shirt in the sink, wring it out, put it on and sit in a lawn chair (or other chair that lets air through to you) in front of a fan. Re-wet as it dries. Make sure not to soak it with cold water. It can be colder than you think. Instead use lukewarm water so you get cool without freezing. Using a synthetic shirt will ensure no "wet T-shirt" look.
- #*Wear a short sleeved shirt and put water on the sleeves. If there is a breeze or fan blowing on you, you can actually get cold. Use a squirt bottle, the sink or hose if outside to keep your sleeves wet. If you are outside and wearing long pants and you put water on your legs, the water will cool your legs.
- Fill your bathtub with cool water and get in. Once you are used to the temperature, let some water out and refill with cold water. Keep doing this until you are sufficiently cold. Your body will stay cool for a long time after you get out.
- Or just soak your feet in a bucket of cold water. You can do it almost anywhere and don't have to stay in the tub. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will efficiently cool the body.
- sweating actually takes heat away from your body if it is exposed to air and allowed to evaporate. The best thing to do is to put your sweaty self in the path of a cool breeze or fan. Also try using a Water Misting Fan. These portable devices are battery operated so you can take them with you wherever you go. As you mist and fan yourself, the water is evaporated on you skin giving you an instant cooling sensation!
- Dress (or undress) for the heat. There are several strategies to dress, depending on your situation:
- Nothing: If you're in a situation where you can go without clothes, this can be the most comfortable, natural way to stay cool.
- Next-to-Nothing: Put on a swimsuit, or wear your underwear at home.
- Summer Clothing: Wear natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers (with the possible exception of performance fabrics).
- Wear Light Colors: Darker colors will absorb the sun's rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat. Wear natural summer clothing.
Cover Up: Covering up may actually keep your cooler, especially if the heat is low in humidity. In the scorching temperatures of the Middle Eastern deserts, traditional cultures wear clothing covering from head to toe. By protecting your skin from the sun beating down, you'll also shade your skin. Be sure your clothing is natural fabrics, and loose.
- Go downstairs. Warm air is less dense than cooler air so it ends up layered on top of the downward moving cooler air. If you're in a house, for example, get lower than the roof. Make your way to the basement or lower level. It will be cooler there. Position a fan in an upstairs window to draw off heat collected in upper rooms--set it up so that it sucks air from indoors and pushes it outdoors.
- Close your blinds. Close your blinds and curtains during the day to block the sun. For even better protection, get aluminized blinds (or use removable sheets of cardboard cut to size and covered in foil.)
- Turn off electrical heat sources.Turn off the stove or other sources of heat. Don't use the stove or oven to eat--eat out, eat cold food, or use the microwave. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat - switch to compact fluorescents. Turn off your lamps, as well as your computer when you're not using it.
- Adjust your pilot light. If you have a gas stove with pilot lights, make sure they are set correctly. Too high and they'll produce excess heat. We stop using the oven in the summer and just turn the gas off.
- Use a hint of mint.Try a few minty or menthol products to cool your skin: slather on lotion with peppermint (avoid your face and eyes), shower with peppermint soap, use a minty foot soak, and powders with mint. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.
- Try a heat snorkeling system. Take a glass and fill it almost to the brim with ice cubes. Then hold it up to your mouth and blow gently into the cup. The ice causes the air you are blowing into the cup to cool down drastically, and since the air only has one way out of the cup (the hole which should now be aiming right at your face) the cold air is forced out over your skin. This is a great alternative to air conditioning and is very simple. Note that this is not any more efficient that A/C, as energy goes into freezing the ice.
- Breathe like a dog. Try the [[Breathe Like a dog} Roll your tongue into a tube with the tip outside the mouth. Continuing slow deep breath, breath in through the tube and then move your chin to your chest as you breath out through your nose. Do that 5-10 times and you should start to feel cooler. Dogs often use their tongues to cool themselves; perhaps this yoga practice comes from noticing that.
- Eat spicy food. It's not a coincidence that many people in hotter regions of the world eat spicy food. Spicy (hot to the taste) food increases perspiration which cools the body as it evaporates. It also can cause an endorphin rush that is quite pleasant and might make you forget about the heat.
- Use alcohol--rubbing, that is... Take ordinary rubbing alcohol and a wash-cloth and pour some alcohol onto the cloth and rub it onto your face, being careful not to get any in your mouth or eyes, and stand in front of or under moving air and the evaporating alcohol makes it feel around 30 degrees.
- Put a freeze on things. Get a 1 or more 3 liter bottles, fill them mostly full of water, freeze them, then place them in a large bowl (to catch dripping water). Position a fan to blow on them. As the ice in the bottles melts, the air cools around them. The fan will blow that air at you. The water in the bottles can be frozen overnight and used again, repeatedly. This will supplement your AC if you have it, and will serve as a ad hoc AC until you can get a decent AC system. Note that this is not any more efficient that A/C, as energy goes into freezing the ice.
- Think cool. Read books about climbing Mount Everest, visiting Norway, or watch "March of the Penguins", "Ice Age", or "The Day After Tomorrow". You might not be physically cooler, but if your mind envisions a cold environment, you might feel a bit cooler.
- Find a shaded area and set up water misting system that connects to an ordinary garden hose that can be found at home improvement stores. Then, just sit there and let the mist cool you off.
- Sit Still. Do not try to fan yourself because it can make you hotter. Trying to move while feeling hot can make you feel hotter.
- Cool as a cucumber! Slice a thin piece of cold cucumber (from the fridge or a cooler) and stick it in the middle of your forehead! This feels fantastic on a hot day or when stuck in a hot car, and works almost immediately!
- Use light-colored roofing. If you have the choice, choose a lighter roof or roof coating. It will reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it.
- Insulate your home. A home that has well-insulated walls and attic will actually keep the heat out in hot seasons. Just imagine your home as a gigantic ice cooler! There are lots of insulation options to choose from, including types that can be conveniently blown in to your walls without much hassle. Another bonus is that there may be government grants to help offset the cost of this kind of upgrade.
- Plant trees. Trees can shade your home or yard and keep things considerably cooler. Deciduous trees, those that lose their leaves in winter, will let sunlight through in winter when it's desired and create shade in summer. Awnings and planning the exposure of windows and doors in a home you are building can also provide shade. The south and west sides of your home will generally be the hottest and most in need of shade.
- Send up the cool air. If your home has a basement and central air system, have an HVAC professional add a cold air return in the basement to pull the naturally cool air that falls down and recycle it into the rest of your home by simply setting your furnace to "fan" mode.
- Tune up your A/C. If you have an A/C, clean/replace the filter. Have central A/C ducts checked for leaks. And if it is more than 10 years old, a new high-efficiency unit can be up to 40% more efficient. When the A/Cs running, don't forget to latch your windows and keep the door closed.
- Don't forget that the human race lived for many, many years without air conditioning. Within the limits of your particular health situation, your body can alter to the summer increase in temperature. Just become accustomed to the fact that you may have to alter your activities and schedule to 'beat the heat'.
- If all else fails, go to the mall, library, church, movie theater or some other air-conditioned public building.
- You still want to get into the outdoors? Usually the early morning and evening are cooled down enough to enjoy your walk, run, hike, bike, gardening, or yard work.
- Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which make you urinate more often than usual. This promotes further dehydration through water loss.
- If your garage is under living areas of your home, leave your hot car outside to cool off before putting it in the garage.
- Don't put rocks, concrete, or brick patios right against the house where they will reflect heat onto walls or windows, especially on the south or west sides. If you already have such a feature in your landscape, plant a tree so that it and that side of the building will be shaded, especially during the hot parts of the day. Rocks, concrete, and the like also retain heat longer than planted areas after the sun goes down.
- Cooling methods that depend on the evaporation of water, including sweating, will work best if the humidity is fairly low.
Take on behind the neck. Tie it for your taste. Make a Homemade Ice Pack
- While it is rarely a problem for individuals with good health, over-hydration is a possibility for individuals with heart, liver, or kidney problems. If you have any serious health problems, be mindful of how much water you drink, as your kidneys may not be able to excrete an excessive amount of water properly.
- Babies, children, pregnant women, and the elderly are all much more prone to overheating than others. Be sure to keep an eye on members of your family, co-workers, and neighbors.
- If you experience symptoms of heat stroke or dehydration, call emergency personnel and seek professional assistance.
- A body temperature above 104 °F (40 °C) is life-threatening and if it reaches 113 °F (45 °C) you are approaching sure death. Don't let your temperature rise anywhere near those temperatures.
- In many areas, high day temperatures can set off afternoon thunderstorms. Be prepared for such weather situations.
- Heat is often the uncomfortable companion of drought. If there are water restrictions in your area, make sure you consider them before implementing any of the water-intensive suggestions above. Failure to comply may get you a hefty fine, even jail time.