Strategies to beat the summer heat

Published 2:12 pm Sunday, August 4, 2019

The dog days of summer can be challenging. As the mercury rises to potentially unhealthy heights, spending time outdoors can become less comfortable and even dangerous.

Finding ways to beat the summer heat can help people avoid injury and illness and ensure they still get to enjoy their summers. The following are three ways to beat the summer heat, though it’s important that seniors, pregnant women, parents of young children, and anyone with a preexisting health condition speak with their physicians about the precautions they should take before going outside on hot days.

1. Change your exercise routine, if necessary. Summer is a great time to exercise outdoors. However, it’s important that people who are used to working out in midday change their outdoor exercise routines on hot days. One tip is training early in the morning before the sun gets too high. During the dog days of summer, early morning temperatures tend to be more mild than midday temperatures. That can reduce athletes’ risk of injury or illness, though it’s still important to avoid exercising in especially hot temperatures regardless of the time of day.

2. Practice passive cooling at night. Nightflushing is a passive cooling technique that involves opening the windows in a home at night. Doing so can make indoor areas healthier and more comfortable for a home’s inhabitants during the dog days of summer. HVAC systems keep homes cool in summer, but over time hot and stale air can accumulate inside a home. If that air is not removed, a home can feel stuffy and airborne pollutants like carbon dioxide can reach potentially unhealthy levels. By opening windows at night, homeowners can let that stale, potentially unhealthy air out and let the cool air of summer evenings in.

3. Stay hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated at any time of year, but especially so during the dog days of summer. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that the human body needs an average of three quarts of water per day on a normal day. However, conditions on mid- to late-summer days make it necessary for many people to consume more water than that, especially if they plan to spend time outdoors. On hot days, make sure you’re taking in more fluids than you’re losing.