Coping With Summer’s Heat

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Living the military lifestyle can be fairly nomadic, and it can have you living in environments you weren’t expecting. What if hot summer temperatures are a new thing to you? How are you going to get through these next few months?

The given way of being safe and comfortable is to stay hydrated and be indoors during the peak sun hours.

However, even the inside can get warm and uncomfortable. If you don't have air conditioning, here are five unconventional ways to stay cool this summer, from Katy Galimberti at AccuWeather.com.

1. Load up on spices.

While it may sound strange, eating spicy foods can cool your body down. The heat of a spicy dish will make you sweat and, in turn, cool you off naturally.

If that sounds too extreme, Nancy Rodriguez, Registered Dietician and Professor at the University of Connecticut, suggests using salsa, guacamole and other summer snacks.

2. Use the products you already have.

You can turn everyday products into cooling sensations, simply by storing them in the refrigerator. Sunscreen, lotions, toners, creams, and even perfumes can all be kept safely in the fridge, to give you a refreshing lift upon application.

Nicole Darmanin, a spokesperson for the Mario Badescu skin care company, said products such as eye creams can be kept in the refrigerator and applied cool. "It is so refreshing, especially during the summer months. The application of the cool eye gel around the eyes is also great for calming tired, puffy morning eyes," she said.

3. Cool your pulse.

The National Sleep Foundation recommended placing a damp washcloth in the freezer to make a cooling compress. Placing the frozen cloth on your wrists, or any pulse points, will bring an icy shock to your body. If you don't have an ice pack, place your wrists under cold, running water for 30 seconds. It will cool the blood in your veins and provide some instant relief.

4. Drink up, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

After being outside in hot weather, it's important to hydrate and replenish your body. Suzy Weems, Registered Dietician and Professor of Nutrition at Baylor, suggests cool, refreshing liquids following time in the sun, recommending water and juices.

She cautioned against iced tea or anything with caffeine, as some people can have increased perspiration. As refreshing as it may sound, beer, wine or hard liquor are all poor choices, according to Weems. Alcohol is dehydrating and should be avoided during scorching heat.

5. Create a faux AC.

To simulate the feel of an air-conditioner, Medicine.net recommended placing a bowl of ice in front of a box fan and sitting directly in front of the flow of air.

If you have pets, you need to take their comfort into consideration during hot weather. "Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke or sunburn if overexposed to the heat," says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Veterinary Advisor, "and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly."

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. When it's extremely hot, make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, or keep them indoors.

According to Dr. Lila Miller, "Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees."

Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.

And don’t forget about any outdoor potted plants you have. They’ll need extra attention if they’re to make it through the summer. Mulching flower beds with wood chips or partially composted bark, or even fine gravel, will insulate the soil, keeping it cooler and reducing evaporation. Watering in the morning, before the temperature rises for the day, also helps to cool the soil. Morning waterings also keeps the water from evaporating quickly, compared to watering in the afternoon.

Planting in partial shade, if you have room for it, can benefit even some sun-loving plants. In 2012, several gardeners reported better success with tomatoes grown in partial shade than in full sun, and many reported failures in growing tomatoes in containers in full sun where the soil gets especially hot.

Do you have a favorite way to cope with the surge in summer temperatures? Share with us in the comments! Thinking about looking for a new home because of a PCS move? Start your search with us!

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