Summer is a wonderful time of year – the days are longer and it’s nice and warm. Sometimes, though, it can be too warm, so how will you stay cool this Summer?
As a child, Summer was my favourite season. Not only was it school holidays, it also meant beach vacations and ice-cream. We also loved making home-made ice blocks and running around in the backyard, playing in the pool.
Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but it feels like each year is getting warmer (hello, global warming).
The ABC reported in March 2017, that Sydney had the hottest summer since records began.
And, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, Summer 2017-2018 was warmer than average, with several monthly records set for single hottest days.
So, what can we do to keep our cool as the temperature heats up? Perhaps history can give us some clues….
Old School Tricks to Staying Cool…
For over 3000 years, the Chinese have been using hand held fans, but the Indians prefer to drink a cup of hot chai to cool down.
Ancient Romans are known to have to controlled the inside temperature of their homes. They designed elaborate aqueduct systems to circulate cool water through the walls of their houses.
In 2 AD, a Chinese inventor built the first room-sized rotary fan. This was however, still hand powered.
Fast forward to America, 1881 in Washington DC. Then president, James Garfield, had engineers design an awkward device which blew air through cotton sheets which had been soaked in ice to help him keep cool. Unfortunately, this was not very cost effective as they burnt through half a million pounds of ice in two months!
Lucky for us, electricity was invented by Nikola Tesla, in 1888.
In 1902, New York engineer, Willis Carrier invented the first air-conditioning unit. Initially designed to control the humidity in the printing plant where he worked, this unit was eventually modified and introduced to the wider public in 1925 when it was installed at the Rivoli Theatre in Times Square.
Isn’t it crazy to think that we have had the luxury of air-conditioning for less than 100 years?
But, if you don’t have this modern creature comfort installed in your home, what else can you do to keep cool this Summer?
SRM’s Top Ten Tips For How To Stay Cool This Summer
If you’re unlucky enough not to have air-conditioning, I’m assuming you’re already at the movies or local shopping centre. And if you’re not close to a beach, what else can you do to stay cool this Summer?
Here are some of our favourite tips and tricks to help you stay cool this Summer –
- Stay out of the sun between 10am – 3pm. Needless to say, if you love being outdoors, that it’s wise to “slip, slop, slap, seek and slide”. This stands for – “Slip on a shirt, Slop on the 50+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade or shelter, Slide on some glasses used to block out sun”
- Stay hydrated – drinking lots of water is a must in Summer or any hot country that you’re in. If it’s hot, your body will sweat to cool it down. By making sure that you’re replenishing your body with water, you won’t become dehydrated. We suggest drinking at least 2L or 8 cups a day – more if you’re exercising
- Eat lighter meals –your body will prefer easily digestible meals, like salads or fruit in Summer. Heavy meals means that your body will need to increase the amount of energy needed to digest the meal, resulting in increasing in your core temperature. Side effects include feeling sluggish, bloated, hot and perhaps you may just end up in a “food coma”
- Wear/use light coloured, breathable material – cotton, rayon or linen are great choices for clothing and bed sheets in Summer. This is because the fabric can help absorb body moisture and will help with air circulation when you are moving around or sleeping. Try to avoid polyester, silk or wool. Using lighter colours will help deflect the heat
- Stay low – hot air rises. If you live in a double or triple storey house, you’ll always find that the coolest place is the lowest floor. If you can’t just move in with your neighbour downstairs because you live in an apartment block, having a futon can help keep you lower to the ground when you sleep.
I know that some of the tips above are pretty common. So here are some other tips that you may not have tried to help you stay cool this summer.
- Talcum powder – widely used in Asia, it helps to reduce sweating and can also help with heat rash. I always thought that my Dad was strange dusting himself in this powder across his neck and under his arms after a shower. But trust me… I can highly recommend this after a cool shower before getting into bed at night
- Handkerchiefs and cool chamois towels – great for when you’re out and about. Having a hanky handy to help wipe off excess sweat when you’re running around is a God-send when it’s very humid. A cool chamois towel is great when outdoors as you can simply soak it in water (ice water if preferred). Use it by wrapping it around your neck, shoulders or as a bandana to keep you feeling more refreshed
- Use fans creatively – If you have a standing or box fan, point it out the window so that it sucks the hot air out of the room. Alternatively, placing a box or esky of ice in front of the fan results in blowing cooled air towards you. If you have ceiling fans, rotate the blades the other way, so that instead of pushing the air down, it pulls the hot air up
- Cool down pulse points – using a cool/ice pack, you can help to bring your body temperature down. The most effective places for the ice pack are the armpits, groin, wrist or ankles or behind the knees. Soaking your feet in cool water can also help to reduce body temperature
- Use an umbrella – in Asia, it’s common to use an umbrella to keep the sun and rain at bay. Golfers are also known to use one in the heat of the day to keep themselves shaded whilst outdoors. Some brolly’s are known to block up to 99% UV radiation and it seems that the darker the shade, the better.
Article by Melanie Yeoh