My kids were mildly horrified last weekend when I rinsed their summer hats under cold water and plopped them on their heads. The purpose was, of course, to cool them off under the relentless burning sun, and they actually appreciated the effect as soon as they stepped out the front door (they were nearly dry by the time we walked down to the splash pad, only to get soaked again). Drinking water, sucking on popsicles and seeking shade are all part of our summer rituals, especially when the temperature inches into heat alert territory.
Staying cool and hydrated are your two best defenses against heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Extreme elevations in your temperature change the way your body functions, putting you at risk for potentially fatal consequences. Infants, the elderly, athletes and people who spend a lot of time outdoors are most at risk, so watch for the red flags of heat exhaustion: nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache and muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion can quickly develop into heat stroke, causing difficulty breathing, confusion, seizure and hot, dry skin. These symptoms mean you need to get medical attention as quickly as possible.
A few more tricks I use to stay cool include leaving water bottles in my freezer. They are easy to grab as I head out the door. I also keep a bottle of aloe in the fridge. Not only does it feel great on hot skin, but the aloe is very soothing after spending time in the sun. (Just make sure you keep it out of the reach of your kids so it doesn’t get mistaken for food.)
So keep your clothes light, the fans blowing and your drinks filled with ice. I’d much rather be sipping on something cold than walking around it in. Enjoy the summer because it won’t last long!