July 2, 2012

How to handle the heat

With heat waving a red flag across the country this 4th of July week, I thought you might welcome timely tips from an almost native Floridian who hopes to help you find your cool.

Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting cotton, gauze, linen, and other natural fabrics. Or, wear synthetic clothes designed to absorb moisture and let air flow.

Scan and then back up your important family documents and photos. Make backup copies of your manuscripts and other computer files too. Having backups is important any time, but if the heat brings storms, flooding, or fires, a flash drive or DVD enables you to keep all of your essential files with you.

Keep curtains closed during the day, and blinds drawn or tilted upward.

Instead of turning the air conditioner down to a super low temp, make it higher than normal, so your sunglasses don’t fog as you go out and your electric bill doesn’t punch through the roof. A few degrees might make a difference, too, in helping your community to avoid brownouts or blackouts as electrical usage soars.

When going out, apply UV protection or sunscreen to every exposed inch of bare skin, including the tops of your feet if wearing sandals and top of your head if lacking hat or hair.

Drink more water than usual, and have plenty of drinking water stored at home.

Always, always take drinking water with you in the car.

Never leave kids, pets, or people of any age closed up in a vehicle for even “just a sec.”

Keep cash in small bills on hand in case the electricity goes out, which means that stores cannot process your credit card.

Keep your car filled with gas in case electricity goes out, shutting down electrically-powered gas pumps. If things heat up too much, you might also welcome a drive to an air-conditioned church, mall, or movie theater.

To cool down without a/c, sponge icy water over pulse points in the forehead, temples, inner wrists, ankles, and back of the knees. (This helps to break a fever too.) If the water just doesn’t seem cold enough, don’t apply ice directly to the skin, but do add a cap of rubbing alcohol to the water.

If you’re outside long enough to feel drenched, you might need more salt than usual or an electrolyte-balancing drink. I also make my own energizer drink with one spoon of honey melted in a tad of warm water before adding one spoon of natural apple-cider vinegar then filling the glass with cool water, stirred and iced.

Plan light meals for hot weather – for instance, an all-veggie dinner or a fresh salad with all-natural, preservative-free dressing and cubes of canned tuna or slices of stir-fried chicken or salmon on top.

Buy bags of charcoal for outdoor grilling instead of heating up the kitchen.

Stock your kitchen with fresh, watery fruits or melons and foods that do not have to be refrigerated.

Vow not to sweat the small stuff nor stuff your mind with thoughts of anything hot.

Pray to keep your cool.

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© 2012, Mary Sayler

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