With triple-digit temperatures expected this weekend in the High Desert, everyone is looking for a way to cool off. Residents of Lancaster, Palmdale and Santa Clarita are caught in the middle of this heatwave and can make use of a number of cooling centers during the mid-day sun.
Some of these places, however, may not be in close proximity and for those who must rely on public transportation it can be difficult to take advantage of these facilities. There are a number of ways that the individual can keep cool without running up a costly electric bill for air conditioning or a series of fans indoors as well as anticipating a “Flex Alert.”
For instance, did you know that brewing a pot of tea can provide unexpected relief from the heat? It’s peppermint tea that you don’t drink. Instead, brew it and place it in the refrigerator. Once it’s nice and cold, pour some of the tea into a spray bottle and mist yourself with it. Apparently, it’s better than water and will give your skin a cool, tingly feeling. While you’re at it, brew some chrysanthemum tea to lower body temperature. It’s also been known to help soothe heat rash.
Yoga is an excellent way to “cool” the mind and soul, but you wouldn’t want to spread a mat or blanket outside when it’s 100 degrees. Trying doing a few minutes of “yoga breathing.” There’s an art to this: Curl your tongue by pulling both sides upward toward the middle, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath and, slowly, exhale through your nose. Repeat this five to 10 times and you will begin to feel a little cooler, energized and, of course, more composed.
After the temperature has dropped from 105 degrees to a “welcome” 90 degrees, you’re ready for bed but the mattress always absorbs body temperature. You toss and turn and sweat before finally drifting off to sleep. Try this tip: When you get up in the morning, place soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets. For extra comfort, consider placing the ice packs under your legs, neck and lower back. You can also freeze a cotton sock and fill it with rice (who’d have thought?) and slip the sock between she sheets. The rice will hold the chill longer. Another method would be to fold your sheets and pillow cases, place them into plastic bags and put them into the freezer for a few hours. Make up your bed just before you turn out the lights for sweet (and cool) dreams.
You can beat the heat via do-it-yourself air conditioning. Freeze a couple of water bottles and place them in front of a floor or desk fan. Add a little salt to the water to keep them cooler longer. Another idea would be to use aloe vera. Rub a liberal amount over your skin to naturally sooth sunburn as its natural cooling properties will feel great on hot, dry skin.
There are certain pressure points on the body that act like temperature gauges. Cool off by taking a bag of ice and hold it over your ankles, wrists and behind the knees. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the your body temperature will fall without constantly having to take a cold shower or filling the tub with cold water.
Desert dwellers know that when the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside, they hang a damp sheet in an open window. The most important thing to do is block the sun, therefore close your curtains and blinds (ideally with the sun-deflecting white on the window side) which can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
If you have air conditioning, close your fireplace damper on the hottest days. If you leave it open, hot air is automatically pulled into the interior instead of it being released. Remember to keep all doors windows closed while operating the AC, particularly if the temperature outside is 90 degrees and above. Also, if your utility bill will allow, try running a fan with the air conditioner (at low power) and you should remain comfortable on the hottest afternoons. The air conditioner removes the humidity from the air while the fan helps evaporate sweat and moves heat away from the body.
There are lots of cost-saving tips you can utilize on the hottest days. Shut down your computer for the day by setting it at “sleep” mode if you away from it for a few hours. When you’re done for the day, turn it off completely and you won’t put extra strain on the hardware.
If you must venture outside, be sure to dress properly. Trying wearing [thin] cotton or one of the synthetic fabrics (e.g. Coolmax or Nano-Tex) designed to eliminate sweat and that sticky, uncomfortable feeling. In any event, wear loose-fitting garments that are light in color, keep plenty of water with you (avoid soft drinks and alcohol) and always wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head cool.