Here in Oklahoma City, the summers are brutal! We run from 90 to 115 degrees for days that seem to last forever. I suffer from heat sickness and I get very cranky when I’m hot. I have learned ways to cope with the hot summer months, especially since it gets so hot that even running the A/C full blast isn’t enough to beat the sun on it’s own. So I’m going to share all of my wisdom. First, I have three major recommendations – hydrate, use sunblock, and never be afraid to look silly! This is a long post, but it’s well worth reading.
The staple basic is drink lots of water. If you don’t like water, use Mio Shakers or Crystal Lite to flavor to your water, or drink water based drinks like Gatorade, lemonade, and iced tea. Eat light and cool foods, like sandwiches (Tip – salami and pepperoni do not require refrigeration), salads, potato salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, hummus wraps, gazpacho, fresh fruits and veggies. Eat salty foods, because salt makes your body retain water. Eat spicy foods that will promote sweating. Don’t be afraid to sweat! This is your bodies’ natural way of cooling down. I’ve heard that sipping water helps you retain water better than gulping water.
My personal favorite is frozen grapes and ice pops! You can get cheap popsicle makers from Walmart, but all the ones I’ve tried have been a pain in the ass to get the ice pop out! After some research and trials, I found that I LOVE the company Zoku. I highly recommend their products. They are easy to use and easy to remove the icepops. I personally have the Classic Pop Mold and the Mini Pop Molds. The mini molds have a plastic base, but are silicone inside which makes pulling the pops out extremely easy! You can also get creative by adding bits of fruit or a gummy bear to the water or fill them with juice, gatorade, apple sauce, yogurt, etc. (Note: the orange ones are the cheap ones. The white ones in the photos are the Zoku’s. )
In the heat, there’s really no way to avoid sweating. If you stop sweating, you need to get out of the heat because this is a sign of heat stroke and IT IS DEADLY! Since we are on the topic of sweat, we all know this comes with body odor. We have found that you can purchase clinical strength deodorant over the counter from brands like Secret , Degree, Dove, Gillette, etc. We (my husband and I) have both used this stuff and it’s fan-frickin-tastic! It keeps you protected for HOURS. We like to bring it with us around con floor, when we go to conventions, so we can re-apply later in the day… if we even need it.
Guys might feel like this part is just about women, but the unwise man may find out that MEN can get yeast infections too. Yeast is a natural bacteria that is found on the human body, but in moist hot conditions they can breed an over population and cause a lot of discomfort for both men and women. You can get yeast infections on your naughty bits (both upper and lower hemisphere), your feet, and arm pits. A way to avoid yeast infections and heat rashes is to use baby powder (like your mother did for you when you were in diapers), and to change socks and underwear often. A tip for the ladies, don’t wear a bra or underwear to bed – let your unmentionables air out overnight in comfort.
Some lady friends of mine have suggested the use of face powder (such as Airspun Powder) to keep the face dry and cool. There are SPF makeup products you can use to protect against sunburn too. SPF is a measurement used to identify the strength of sunscreen needed to protect your skin against UV rays from the sun. If you’re like me and don’t wear makeup, then just use sunblock to avoid sunburns. I am a tactile person and my nose is sensitive, so I don’t like the coconut smell and the oily feel of most sunscreens. It took me a while to find one that I like – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen. I’ve been suggested to use BB Cream as well. Make sure to apply sunblock on all exposed skin which includes cleavage, chest, front and back of the neck, face, legs, arms and shoulders, and even the ears if you have short hair.
Still, I really don’t like make-up or sunblock, so I try to wear light fabrics and big sunhats to protect my skin. Parasols are a wonderful way to generate some shade! Just remember that the paper parasols will ruin in the rain, so get a cloth/fabric parasol. Hand fans go well with parasols. You can often buy matching parasol and fan sets. Yes, they are like the Asian hand held fans, but you can also find Victorian lace fans. This is where I start to mention not to be afraid to look silly. For one, it doesn’t look all that silly, but even if it did and even it’s not your style, I’d rather be comfortable and sunburn free!
Micro hand fans (battery operated fans) and water misting fans are great. We love taking these to concerts and outdoor events with us to help us cool down. I also happen to love the Britta filter water bottles. I got two 2-packs, so now I have one at work, one by my bed, and two in the fridge that I swap out so that I always have a cool bottle of filtered water.
Another favorite are the ice bandanas or neck ties! At first, I was worried about looking silly, but they are so nice to wear and provided a lot of relief to the point that I didn’t care. They have these little ice crystal packs that freeze and are placed into a neck tie. You keep it in the freezer and then when you go outside, you tie it on your neck. There are different types and designs, and they feel great. We love these!
Another great product is the Thera Pearl hot/cold sports pack. You can freeze and microwave it. I like to freeze it and set it on top of my head or on my lap, chest, or back when I’m sitting around the house. I also make Geckos (pattern from Funky Friends Factory), fill them with beans, keep them in the freezer, and then use them as cold packs during the day. I even keep one at work! On especially hot nights, I put a gecko on my head or tummy… or both!
Personally. I cut my hair super short for the summer. People always whine about it because I have “such beautiful and long hair!” but it will grow back by the time winter rolls around! Usually after it’s cut, I get nothing but compliments. Although, you don’t have to cut it as short as I do. My husband likes to have the underside of his head shaved, which gets hidden by his medium-length hair.
At the end of the day, I highly recommend a shower BEFORE bed, not just in the morning. Getting a shower before bed cools you off and allows you get to sleep comfortably. I like using a light knit blanket which allows me to keep cool when I insist on sleeping with a blanket in the dead of summer. I also use a log-shaped pillow between my knees, because my legs get too hot and sweaty with the skin to skin contact.
Obviously, you can make trips to the lake if you happen to live by one that allows swimming. Right now, my favorite place to go swimming is at Arcadia Lake which is about 20 minutes away! They have a sandy beach setup and you can picnic and camp. I love it! There are also water playgrounds (also called splash pads) all around town!