Beat the heat? No, but…

A hot, hazy sunset. The white sun is setting below a cloud bank is an orange sky.

The ad on radio fairly screamed, “Beat the heat this summer.” How exactly are we going to do that? Answer: We aren’t, but we can live with it. As I sit at my writing table I can think of several things to do about summer or year ’round in tropical areas. I’ll do these randomly off the top of my hatless head. (I don’t wear my hat in the house, which, by the way, is nicely air conditioned.)

Screen shot from a phone showing the weather for a city, Clermont. It shows Partly Cloudy, 94 degrees. The forecast for 3 days is for sun and thunderstorms with highs in the 90's. There is a notation written on it, pointing to the 94 that says, "34C."
As we enter July, much of the Northern Hemisphere will experience several weeks of hot temperatures and bright sun. For anyone with a neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia, the summer heat means fatigue is a problem. For those with light skin, sunburn is a serious matter. Let us not forget that darker skin can burn, as well. Para and quadriplegics who do not regulate heat in the paralyzed areas face the serious danger of over-heating.

I personally do better in the heat than the cold, but I still have to manage it. Along the way I’ve read some very good tips and learned a few on my own, sometimes the hard way.

These are some things that come to mind in no particular order that can help. The byword of summer is Hydrate. Hydrate, hydrate. I can’t say it enough. Water is generally considered the perfect hydration drink. I like my water either filtered or natural spring water and cold. I cannot comment on sports drinks with any authority. If I get too hot, I like a couple of them. Please note that energy drinks are not considered hydration drinks.

A simple, yet effective, tool for keeping cooler and reducing light is the hat. There are hats of all styles. For light and heat we are concerned with three things: the color, the brim, and the material. My wife Sandy wearing a soft blue and white striped hat with a large, floppy brim. She has on a matching top, dark sunglasses, and long, light colored hair.

  • Lighter colors reflect light and heat. A white hat will let less heat get to the head than a black one. A dark color on the underside of the brim, however, will help with light that is reflected off of sidewalks and bright surfaces.
  • Brims can be wide (think summer straw hat), turned down (rain hat), or just in front (baseball cap). Wider defects light off of a wider skin area, whilst turned down offers good protection for the sensitive skin on top of the ears. The ubiquitous baseball cap is practical, relatively inexpensive, and comes in a myriad of logos. A friend who was helping me clean out my closet asked, “How many of those hats do you really need.?”
  • Material speaks for itself. A light cotton will be cooler than wool or felt. I have a cooling hat that has a wide brim, dark green underneath, and looks silly (my wife disagrees about silly). It can make my day outside possible.

Much the same can be said for clothing. Light colors reflect light and thus heat. Before moving to Florida I’d never have teamed a white shirt with khaki pants or shorts. It is common, and I quickly found out why. Fabrics that breathe are cooler, and looser is also cooler.

I know this will give you the perfect excuse to go out any buy that white Porsche you’ve been wanting. The color of your car makes a huge difference to its interior temperature. When we come out of the grocery a black car in the Florida sun will be 40 degrees (22C, I think) hotter than a white car. Either way, it is best to air it out and let cooler, fresher air flow through before getting in. Please don’t ever leave children or pets in the car.

Lighter to reflect light, dark to keep it out of our eyes, fresh air, and water. Now go find a nice air conditioned spot and get back to the book you’re reading!

How do you keep cool in summer? Let’s share ideas and things that work for each of us.

And that photo at the very top? That was the actual color of a Caribbean sunset, not a filter. The day got very hot. Thank you for stopping by. I hope I’ve not sounded too much like a physics professor, except maybe my high school physics teacher who made even physics fun.

George

Picture Descriptions: Top photo shows a hot, hazy sunset. The white sun is setting below a cloud bank is an orange sky.  The second photo shows a screen shot from a phone showing the weather forecast. Currently 94 degrees. The forecast for 3 days is for sun and thunderstorms with highs in the 90’s. There is a notation written on it, pointing to the 94 that says, “34C.”  Third photo has my wife Sandy wearing a soft blue and white striped hat with a large, floppy brim. She has on a matching top, dark sunglasses, and has long, light colored hair.

21 thoughts on “Beat the heat? No, but…

  1. Great article George. First, that top photo is amazing. I can’t imagine what it was like seeing it up close and personal because the image is stunning. Has the spring/summer of 2019 been unusually hot for Florida?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you George. I never knew about white cars. Like you I prefer heat to cold. However, we rarely get too hot here except for last summer. I love going to the beach when the sun shines. I take my little beach tent for shade.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, roasting! It’s been warmer here in the UK for the last two days but that’s set to change again tomorrow, and I’m already saddened. I deal better with warmer weather because my body seems constantly cold. That said, I can feel quite unwell in the sun, too, so I try to be careful & always wear shades, a hat in the garden, and don’t spend too long outside. My arms can oddly still have goosebumps, telling my head that I’m cold, while I’m probably overheating in 30 degree temps in my two cardigans 😂 There’s no need for A/C over here as it’s usually central heating that gets used for most of the year. I’m glad you emphasised hydration because I think that’s something that can’t be said enough. Ice packs are also pretty good for some instant cooling down.
    Stay cool & enjoy your book in the comfort of the A/C, George!
    Caz x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was remiss in not seconding your suggestion of ice. Ice is a good cooler in drinks and, if necessary, rubbed lightly on the cooling points (inside of wrists and elbows, back of the neck, or inside of the knees). At an MS seminar the speaker said a quick cooler is the ubiquitous Slurpee at 7-Eleven. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. During our last visit to the Midwest, I noticed there were quite a few black or blue SUVs and down here in FL, there are quite a few white/silver cars. I wondered if that was on purpose by the dealer.

    Liked by 1 person

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