July 14th, 2024

To Your Health: Keep your cool in the summer heat

By Gillian Slade on July 17, 2017.

Trying to stay comfortably cool when there is a heat wave can be difficult but it is not impossible.

The key is making use of the hours when temperatures are lowest — at night and in the early morning.

I often take the opportunity to enjoy fresh air just before going to bed. It is a great way to end the day. Pour yourself a cool drink and sit on the deck, veranda or balcony and relax. I am often surprised how many air conditioners I can hear at that time of day when it is cooling down rather than heating up.

Open the windows wide and allow the night air to cool the house down. Leave the windows open in the early morning until temperatures outside are equal to what it is inside the house. At this point it is valuable having a thermometer in your home. One that has a sensor outside can tell you temperatures inside and out. When the numbers are the same, or before you leave for work in the morning, close all the windows up so that new hot air generated during the day does not heat up your home. If you have windows where the sun pours in close the blinds/curtains to limit heat build-up there.

We spend all winter locked up in our homes and it is a crying shame that we end up switching the air conditioner on and decide to stay indoors all summer too.

Some people say they just can’t sleep at night without the air conditioner on. Sometimes we are so hot from rushing around doing chores in the house that we are sweating by bedtime. That’s why sitting down quietly with a cool drink last thing at night is beneficial. Eating an ice cream or frozen yogurt will also cool your body down. A shower or bath in cool water will also help.

Staying hydrated in the heat is crucial and having cool drinks to reach for is important for your health. Water and plenty of it is best but sometimes we would like something with flavour. Personally I find making my own iced tea with herbal teas gives me control over flavour and the amount of sugar it contains. It is relatively simple to make a pot of tea with boiling water poured over tea leaves or teabags. Allow it to steep for five minutes and then pour the tea into a jug with plenty of ice cubes so that the temperature reduces quickly. Make sure you are using a jug that can handle hot tea and ice cubes as some glass ones could break. Once it has cooled to room temperature it can be placed in the refrigerator until you want a drink. For added flavour add a slice of fresh lemon to your glass. Resist the temptation to sweeten the tea. If you can’t add a little honey and then slowly reduce the amount you add until you enjoy it plain.

Here’s to turning the air conditioner off at night and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her by email on call 403-528-8635.

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