Surviving Summer 2023 may be a novel experience for some, as the heat is on! Satellite Data Indicates the sun is getting hotter – for various reasons (global warming, greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere…) But how can we manage the sun’s heat in the Caribbean? It can be challenging, especially when too exposed to the sun – challenges can range from heat syncope to dehydration, but here are some tips to help you stay cool and comfortable this Summer and in the future:
Here are 10 tips to stay cool during the summer heat:
- Enjoy the evening: Open your windows in the cooler evenings to naturally cool your home. Consider cooking outside to avoid a hot kitchen and take advantage of the cool breeze.
- Seek shade: When outdoors, find shade under a tree or use a parasol or umbrella to protect yourself from the sun’s heat. Don’t forget sunscreen, water, and a hat if you need to wait outside.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to replenish fluids lost through sweating and urination. Aim for 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women per day, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol can negatively affect your hydration levels and quality of sleep, especially in hot weather. It also increases the risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Use sunscreen regularly: Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Reapply every two hours and choose a sunscreen suitable for your skin type and activities.
- Enjoy cooling fruits: Consume fruits like watermelon, oranges, and pineapples, which have cooling properties and help regulate body temperature. They also provide hydration and are rich in antioxidants.
- Avoid intense physical activities: Engaging in strenuous activities during hot weather can lead to heat stress and dehydration. If necessary, do them during the coolest part of the day.
- Wear cotton clothing: Opt for lightweight and breathable cotton clothing that absorbs sweat and allows heat to escape. Light-colored clothing is also recommended as it attracts less heat.
- Choose lighter meals: Opt for lighter, refreshing meals like salads, cold soups, and chilled fruit bowls instead of heavy, rich dishes that can make you feel sluggish in the heat.
- Embrace lightweight fabrics: Wear breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen, or chambray to allow air circulation and keep you cool and comfortable throughout the day.
- DIY cold packs: Create your own cold packs by freezing a wet sponge or a damp washcloth in a resealable bag. Place them on pulse points, neck, or forehead for instant cooling. It’s a portable and reusable solution to stay refreshed on the go.
For all car owners:
- Use sunshades or window visors: Place sunshades or window visors on your car’s windshield and windows to block direct sunlight. This can significantly reduce the amount of heat entering your vehicle.
- Park in shaded areas: Whenever possible, park your car in shaded areas such as under trees or in covered parking lots. This will help keep the temperature inside the car lower.
- Use reflective windshield shades: Invest in a reflective windshield shade that reflects the sun’s rays away from your vehicle. This can keep the interior temperature cooler and protect your dashboard and upholstery from damage.
- Keep windows slightly cracked: When you park your car, leave the windows slightly cracked to allow hot air to escape. Be sure to do this in a way that maintains security and does not make it easy for someone to break in.
- Use seat covers or towels: Cover your car seats with light-colored seat covers or towels to prevent them from absorbing heat. This will make sitting on them more comfortable and reduce the overall temperature inside the car.
- Use a dashboard cover: Place a reflective dashboard cover on your dashboard to prevent it from heating up and radiating heat throughout the car’s interior.
- Use a sunshade for child seats: If you have child seats in your car, use sunshades specifically designed for them. This will protect your children from direct sunlight and keep their seats cooler.
- Use the air conditioning strategically: When you get into the car, turn on the air conditioning and set it to the maximum setting initially. Once the car starts to cool down, gradually decrease the intensity to maintain a comfortable temperature. Consider using the “recirculate” mode to cool the already-cooled air instead of constantly drawing in hot air from outside.
- Ventilate the car before getting in: Open all the doors and windows for a brief period before entering the car to allow hot air to escape and cool air to circulate. Use caution and ensure the area is safe before doing this.
- Use seat ventilation or seat covers with cooling properties: Some cars offer ventilated seats that blow cool air through perforations, providing a cooling effect. If your car doesn’t have this feature, consider using seat covers with cooling properties.
Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, wear loose and breathable clothing, and plan your activities to avoid being in the sun during the hottest parts of the day.