How to Deal with the Heat

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We all yearn for summer during winter, but the moment a heat wave hits we start complaining. Some even go as far as to say that dealing with heat is far worse than dealing with cold, because you can’t just put more clothes on.

It would be a shame to let an occasional heat wave spoil your enjoyment of the sunny days. All you need to do is adjust your behaviour by following these simple tips:

General tips

  • Dress for the weather. Wear loose-fitting, light-weight and light-coloured clothing.
  • Cut your hair short or wear it up to get it off your neck. Men should trim their beard shorter or shave it off.
  • Lose weight. Having fat is like wearing winter clothes.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. They make your body lose water by increasing blood flow to the kidneys and slowing the rate at which your body absorbs sodium.
  • Eat smaller meals more often.
  • Take supplements or consume energy drinks to replace salt and minerals lost through heavy sweating.
  • Bring a sweater or a jacket to work, restaurants, movie theatres and other places with air conditioning.

In the home tips

  • Do as they do in the Mediterranean: take a mid day siesta.
  • Learn another lesson from Mediterranean folk: close blinds and windows during the day, open at sunset and keep open throughout the night.
  • For instant relief, rub an ice cube over the pulse points on your body. If you have a fan, rub a wet cloth over exposed skin and stand close to the fan.
  • Eat cold foods. If you must cook, minimise the heat build-up in the kitchen by cooking outside or using a microwave instead of the oven.
  • If you have an air conditioner, increase its efficiency (and decrease your electricity bill) by providing a shade for the external part of the unit.
  • Cover the windows exposed to sunlight with minium foil, shiny side facing out. Described as a “poor man’s air conditioner”, this strategy has a prettier (and more expensive) alternative: professionally installed solar film or solar tinted windows.

Outdoors tips

  • Keep out of the sun, especially at mid-day.
  • Wear a hat. It provides serious protection.
  • Apply sunscreen. You know how unbearably hot you feel when you get sunburnt!
  • Swim a lot. Preferably, in a covered pool.
  • If you have to cover distances using your own muscle power, rather cycle than run or jog. The faster air flow from cycling will provide a welcome cooling effect.
  • If possible, avoid getting straight into a car that has been parked in the sun. Rather, open all doors first and wait a few minutes. If in a swimsuit or shorts, feel the seat with your hand before sitting on it, to avoid leaping through the roof.
If nothing helps much, take consolation from the fact that your body will adapt to the hot conditions. You will start to sweat more, which will cool you faster; you will excrete less salt, to help prevent excessive losses; your heart rate will slow down a little, using less energy and producing less heat. All that takes about two to three weeks.... By which time the heat wave will probably have passed. And when the temperature drops for only a couple of days, all that hard work your body put into adapting to the heat will be erased. Come next heat wave, you’ll have to start from scratch.
Doing it like a star

In times of need, the skirt-wearing part of the population may want to seek relief from the summer heat by standing atop a subway vent, like the Marilyn Monroe character in The Seven Year Itch (incidentally, the same character keeps her undies in the freezer – another great cooling tip).

Alternatively, imitate the car washing performance given by Liv Tyler in One Night at McCool's. Splashing copious amount of water over oneself is obligatory. Oh, and so is doing it in a public, high visibility place.

Guys may opt for the age-long tradition of going shirtless, or unbuttoning the shirt so as to give a scenic view of the pectorals. This heat-beating stratagem is practised by actors and rock stars the world over, plus an odd politician or two. Notable examples are Brad Pitt (Thelma and Louise etc.), Tom Cruise (Top Gun etc.), Hugh Jackman (in most of his movies), Will Smith (ditto), and so on and so forth.

Warning: Most of the celeb tips above work best in combination with celeb looks.

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