Heat waves: 14 strategies to keep cool on hot days

It’s brutal out here!


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Love or hate the summer heat, there are times when it’s nearly unbearable to go outside.

Heat waves not only feel intense, but they can also be deadly.

Unfortunately, experts predict that periods of high heat will become more frequent and severe as the climate crisis worsens.


Inverse spoke with a variety of experts who specialize in disaster preparedness, public health, and HVAC system management to learn the best ways to weather the hottest days of the year.



Here are 14 ways to handle extreme heat:

14. Hydrate often

Drinking water frequently is actually better for the body than consuming infrequently and in large quantities.


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A good rule of thumb is to consume one cup (8 ounces) of water every 15 to 20 minutes if you are working outside.

13. Hold off on outdoor exercise

In high temperatures, overexertion can raise your body’s temperature to the limits. If you do want to move around outside, try walking slowly — or wait until it is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit to work out.

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12. Stay in the shade

If you’re outdoors, avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen. And if you have to be in the sun, make sure to take frequent breaks in the shade to avoid overheating.

11. Cool off your skin

Placing an ice cube on your wrists for five seconds every few hours can help you cool down. Applying cold compresses on the neck and forehead also helps.



Avoid taking a cold shower. It might feel nice at the moment, but it can impede your body’s ability to regulate temperature when you’re back in the heat.

10. Keep your blinds closed

If you’re indoors, block out the sunlight to keep the heat from baking you in your home. Blackout shades can offer more coverage than traditional shades, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

9. Wear loose clothing

Baggy is best. And wearing lighter colors that reflect sunlight, as well as certain types of fabric like linen and cotton, can help keep you cool.

8. Watch for signs of heat stroke

As the temperature rises, the chance of heat stroke — a condition where the body can no longer cool itself down — also goes up. Heat stroke can be deadly, especially for elderly folks.



Here are some warning signs to watch out for:


-Slurred speech

-Feeling shaky

-Feeling disoriented

-Excessive thirst

-A general feeling of discomfort

-Upset stomach or nausea

7. Fans can (sometimes) help

Using a fan to circulate air can be a huge help on a moderately hot day. But when it’s above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you won’t get the same cooling effect.

6. Find a local cooling center

If it’s too hot at home, look for a designated cooling center in your area. If there aren’t any close by, try going to a library, mall, movie theater, or other indoor spots with air conditioning.

5. Change your AC filters

If you do have air conditioning, it’s best to change your filters at least every 2 to 3 months, but more frequent swaps can help keep things running in optimal shape during extremely hot days.

4. Watch out for others

Don’t forget to check in on friends, family, and neighbors during extremely hot days — especially those who are elderly and live alone.

3. Plan Ahead

Keep an eye on the forecast and sign up for weather alerts, as well as emergency text and email alerts from local city or town officials.

2. Prepare for blackouts

Extreme heat, demand for energy, and severe weather can strain the electrical grid, so don’t be surprised if you lose power during a heat wave.



Here are some items you may want to have on hand:

-Shelf-stable food



-A phone charger or portable energy supply

-A first aid kit

-A flashlight

1. Don’t neglect your pets!

If you’re hot, your furry friends are definitely hot as well. Check out our guide to cooling down your dog for a full list of handy tips.



For more in-depth info on preparing for extreme heat, click here.

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