As the temperatures begin to climb, so do the risks that come along with it. Perhaps the top health risk that comes with summertime is the danger of overheating and dehydrating. To combat dehydration, you can make sure you’re always drinking lots of fluids, but sometimes, the heat can sneak up on you.

Previously, we covered a few ways you can cool down on a hot day, but if nothing seems to be working, we have a few other tips for you. Today’s secrets focus on steps you can take before heading out into the sun, as well as a bonus way to cool down on those hot summer nights. If you display any of the symptoms of heat stroke stop what you’re doing and call 9-1-1 immediately!

  • Body temperature over 103°
  • Warm, red, dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Reduced sweating
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

These tips will help you for mild overheating or feeling hot, but heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical conditions that need to be handled by health care professionals. If you haven’t reached that point and want to cool down a bit, we suggest you read on!

1. Wear a Cool Bandana

Throwing on a bandana isn’t just a cool fashion choice, it can also help you avoid overheating during the summer months. How? By making a cool (or even ice!) bandana. There are a few ways this can help you. First, depending on where you put the bandana, it can make direct contact with your skin, similar to a cool breeze or a splash of cold water. But the way it can help the most is by cooling your pulse points, which cools your blood as it travels through your body. Luckily, one of the most common ways to wear a bandana (around your head) puts it in contact with your temples, a major pulse point. You can also wear the cool bandana around your neck, which can also help cool you down.

In many cases, soaking a regular bandana in cold water is enough, but you can also stick it in the freezer until it’s lightly frozen.

Making a cool or ice bandana is simple. In many cases, soaking a regular bandana in cold water is enough (wringing out the excess water so you don’t have drips), but this can run out of cooling effect quickly. While you can just soak it again, there are other ways you can keep it cooler for longer. If you have a bit of time, stick the bandana in the freezer until it’s lightly frozen, but still pliable. This will help it maintain the cool temperature longer. You can also roll ice cubes in the bandana to make an ice bandana (popular with many runners). Finally, you can purchase one of the many varieties of cooling bandanas, which are lined with special materials that hold on to cool temperatures longer.

2. Wear Lighter, Summer-Friendly Clothes

The clothes you wear aren’t just a fashion statement. In the summer, they can go a long way in helping you avoid overheating. Now, some of this will be common sense — don’t wear long pants, heavy materials, extra layers, etc. But even the material of clothes you’re wearing can influence your temperature. Cotton and linen clothes are among the best for the summertime, since these are lightweight and breathable in the summer. Alternatively, polyesters and silks aren’t breathable, trapping heat around your body.

If the fit is right, you can wear whatever color you like!

The color and cut of your outfit can also influence how hot your clothes can make you. Generally, the rule of thumb has long been that lighter clothes reflect light while darker ones absorb it, making you hotter. This is why it’s suggested that you avoid black or dark clothes in the summer. While this is true, there is a caveat, and it combines with our next factor — cut. In the summer, you should be wearing loose fitting clothes, since that allows wind and fresh air to circulate around your body. In these conditions, black or dark clothes can actually be better for you in the summer. Since they absorb heat, the clothes take away heat from your body. The reason dark clothes can make you hot is that they keep the heat trapped in the fabric close to your body. With clothes that promote air circulation, the heat is allowed to circulate away, keeping you cooler. In fact, in loose clothes, dark fabric may actually promote air circulation by creating a chimney effect. What this means for you is that if the fit is right, you can wear whatever color you like!

3. Avoid the Prime Heat Time

This third tip is going to be shorter than the others, but that’s because it’s a pretty simple one. Don’t go outside during the peak heat hours. These hours are when the sun is at its highest peak in the sky and puts out the most heat. Luckily, it’s a fairly short window that you can work around during the summer. Generally, the prime heat window runs from 11AM to 3PM, so if you can, stay indoors during these hours. If you need to be out, use the tips from this article and the previous one and stick to the shade.

4. Chill Your Sheets

For our final tip, we’re going to focus on cooling off at night. During the summer, there are few things worse than a hot, sticky, sleepless night. To combat this, you can adjust your sheets to give you the best start possible. First, make sure that your bed sheets are a breathable material, similar to our discussion on clothes, since many aren’t and can trap body heat underneath the covers. If you want to work with your current set of sheets, just freeze them. Seriously, rolling your sheets up, putting them in a freezer bag, and placing them in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes will give them a nice chill that should last the night.

Dampen the sheets and fitted sheet in cool or cold water, and lay a towel underneath where you and your bedpartner will be sleeping.

Another cooling strategy that may have been used for centuries is called the Egyptian Method. Simply dampen the sheets and fitted sheet in cool or cold water (not drenched, just damp). Next, lay a towel underneath where you and your bedpartner will be sleeping so that the mattress isn’t soaked throughout the night and place the sheets on the bed. All that’s left is bedtime! Alternatively, you can place a damp body-length towel over the sheets and lay on that. If nothing else seems to be working, you can also pick up a pair of cooling sheets or a cooling mattress topper.

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Summertime can be a blast with beautiful weather encouraging all sorts of outside fun, family vacations, and cookouts. But you also have to contend with the heat, which can be daunting in the dog days of summer. By following these tips, you can stay cool and enjoy your summer safely!

Further Reading

Medicareful Living — 4 Easy Ways to Cool Down on a Hot Day
Medicareful Living — Remember to Use Sunscreen This Summer
Medicareful Living — Summer Safety Tips for Seniors