If you’re the type who loves pumpkin-spice season, you might want it in ice cream form this year. Weather forecasts say we can expect temperatures to remain high throughout the fall, along with tropical storms. It’s time to take a lesson from places like Charleston and Savannah on how to beat muggy heat.
Foremost, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Sip throughout the day. Add mint or fruit infusions for a more summery treat.
Wear loose-fitting clothing. Long sleeves, pants and dresses in breathable fabrics protect skin from direct sun to keep you cooler. Light colors reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them. Vented, lacy or “Quick-dry” wicking clothes also dissipate sweat so you won’t feel ‘swampy.’
Bandanas or scarves around the neck help to control sweat drip. Check out special cooling bandanas that come with built-in ice packs.
Keep your hair off the back of your neck to allow better air flow. Use a ‘breathable’ straw or mesh hat in direct sunlight.
Cool down body temperature by putting something cold or wet at pulse points along the sides of the neck, inner wrists, temples and ankles.
Take cooling afternoon showers. Aloe vera and cucumber have natural temperature-reducing properties. Perhaps you can find or make a portable facial spritzer to stay fresh throughout the day. Spritzers can also be refrigerated for an extra boost of “Ahh.”
There’a a reason why Southern style is exemplified by wide porches, shade trees, outdoor fans, hand fans and parasols, cookouts, iced tea and lemonade. They are all ways to beat the heat. Cooking outdoors keeps from building up more heat in the house.
No porch? Set up a canopy so you can continue to enjoy the outdoors. If you have a pool, build a pavilion or plant landscaping in such a way that it will block direct sun, shading part of the pool for a relaxing swim even in the afternoon.
Eat cool foods. This is a great time to try new recipes for sandwiches, coolers, fruit bowls and salads. Prepare foods that can be refrigerated for a quick meal or a snack so you can avoid cooking during the day. Try making your own watermelon popsicles.
Learn your shade schedule. What sides of your property can you safely work on in the shade at certain times of the day? Be careful of surfaces like blacktop that soak in and increase heat, or reflective surfaces that double sun exposure. If you feel any weakness, nausea, dizziness, headaches or muscle cramps, don’t try to tough it out. You need to bring your body temperature down quickly.
You don’t need the fountains of Versailles to enjoy water-cooling elements on your own property. You and the kids can enjoy an afternoon playing with the garden hose or sprinkler.
Another way to beat the heat is to visit the Georgia Aquarium or take in a movie.
At home, simply run your wrists under cool water, or soak your feet to revive instantly. Add some refreshing peppermint and epsom salts to your bath, if you like. Peppermint contains menthol which has natural cooling properties.
Don’t forget that pets need help with the heat, too. Don’t leave them outside, and never leave them in the car even for a few minutes. Let them play in the sprinkler, too.
Finally, just chill out. Take some down time to relax and refresh. Let your heart rate slow down to cool the body naturally. Perhaps enjoy some calming meditation or yoga. If you study Ayurveda, learn ways to reduce excess Pitta energy. Enjoy rose or garden scented aromatherapy. Listen to soothing music or relaxing frequencies. Enjoy the moment. And, despite the heat, enjoy the last days of summer.