03 September 2010

Staying Cool in the Heat Of It

We are back to having weather alerts for the extreme heat. Last week and the beginning of this week were just beautiful with the highs only being in the 90Fs (33C). The kids and I were finally able to get outside and breathe! Evenings of watching the sunset from the porch were just getting popular, as we got the porch cleaned back up to enjoy them.

The last few days the temperatures have been sneakily creeping back up though, culminating in the Excessive Heat Warning from 1pm to 7pm today, and tomorrow. ICK. Back up by 110F/43C for today and tomorrow. Could I please order something different? Truly, I am DONE with the summer heat!

Although it doesn't work to take the entire summer off from getting things done, I think we will do exactly that for the next two days. Perhaps it is time to catch up on some tv shows, reading, and Wii playing! I think there are a few favorite Wii games that have been sitting in the cabinet just wanting to come out! This might be the perfect time to bring back out Jump Start Pet Rescue for Wii and JumpStart Escape From Adventure Island for Wii! Who said learning had to stop because it was hot out?!

I thought I might share some of our strategies for staying cool when it is SO hot.

1) Close and cover windows.

DesertsTeach everyone in the house the routine of closing windows and shades as the sunlight reaches them! The sun can quickly warm things up and it is harder to cool them off again once that happens. In our case this also involves the ridiculous activities of pinning blankets over the windows, or flattening out corrugated cardboard to cover the windows. The sun in the southern states is MUCH more intense than up north. I really think it is even more intense here in the desert, but I will leave that for another time.

2) Stay still and calm.

When you are more active you produce more body heat. When the temperatures are this high, becoming a couch potato is a recommended activity! Staying calm will help you stay cool too. Have you ever noticed that when emotions run high, so do the body temperatures?

3) Drink cold drinks.

This may seem like a no brainer, but most people are constantly slightly dehydrated. Keeping enough fluids in your body will help your internal cooling structures to work properly, leaving you feeling much more comfortable. While hot drinks can be part of your fluids intake, do you really want to drink something hot when it is that HOT out?! One more thing to remember, sugary drinks are not going to cool you off. Sugar, and corn syrup in all of its forms, has this nasty habit of getting in your body's way. It shuts down your immune system for a few hours, it clogs up the internal cooling systems. And just my theory, but I am pretty sure it mucks up the brain and makes it stop working too! ;-)
Please note that dehydration is more common during hot weather and can lead to heat stroke, which can be quite serious. Find put more about the symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke.

4) Eat raw food.

Have some fruit, make a salad, make a smoothie. By eating food that has not been cooked, you will be getting the full juiciness of the produce, helping your internal cooling systems. This is also a great tip so that the kitchen doesn't heat up. Turning on that stove or oven can raise the temperature in the house a few degrees.. something to avoid on days like these! Make some juice or smoothies for yourself and the kids. It is a wonderful treat, and smiles are sure to follow. Try hiding some added nutrition by making a green smoothie! This mango parsley green smoothie is one of our favorites.. using frozen mango makes this quick and COLD during the summer heat!

5) Cut up the cucumbers!

Cucumbers have this marvelous magical ability of remaining cool, and when you eat them, it passes that ability on to your body for a short time. On really hot days, we slice up a cucumber on the slicer and put it into a bowl on the table or desk. They get eaten up as if they were potato chips, or the like. As you munch on them mindlessly while doing something else, take time to notice how much cooler you feel.
Check out this really COOL page I found about cucumbers..

While there are a multitude of other tips and tricks for staying cool in hot weather, these will give you a great start to being comfortable enough to enjoy your days.. even when there are Extreme Heat Warnings in place!

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