Keeping cool in the heatwave without spending a fortune

There are many high tech gadgets on the market, especially designed to keep you cool, and with the heatwave set to continue throughout July and August, people are increasingly forking out to stay comfortable with the rising temperatures. But you don’t really have to spend a fortune to keep cool, there are some really simple and traditional ways to lower your body heat, or the ambient temperature around you, and they won’t cost a fortune.

Copyright: The Stig/Flickr

Copyright: The Stig/Flickr

Here are our low cost tips:

Cooling your body

For an instant cooling trick, pop your hands or feet into a bucket or bowl of cold (but not icy) water. When your core body temperature rises, blood is sent to the surface of your skin, and your feet and hands have a high surface area, due to your toes and fingers. When the core body temperature returns to normal, the blood flow to your hands is slowed and you’ll feel cool again.

Most people think that to cool down, a freezing cold shower will do the trick, but in fact, it will have the opposite effect, as your body will try to conserve heat, in response to this dramatic change. It is better to have a lukewarm shower, as this allows the core body temperature to be lowered, but is still warm enough to allow the blood to return to the surface of the skin.

Spritzing your clothes with cool water will also keep you cool, as the action of water changing from a liquid to a gas requires an input of heat, which it will take from your body, and in effect, cool you down.

And speaking of clothes, as in the winter we advise people to layer up in order to keep warm, in the summer the reverse is true. Keep to loose fitting clothes, in natural materials that allow the air to circulate freely, so for ladies a loose cotton dress, and gents a short sleeved cotton shirt with loose fitting shorts. The reason we need air to circulate freely around out skin is so that the perspiration we produce when we are hot can evaporate, and it is this that makes us feel cooler.

Cooling the temperature around you

We all tend to open a window when the temperature rises, but those with sash windows have a hidden advantage they may not be aware of. By opening both the top and bottom windows by equal amounts, you can effectively cool down a room, as the top lets the rising warm air out, while the bottom draws out the cooler air.

You can apply this to two storey houses, if you open all the windows in the house to get the circulation going. The hot air will rise and leave through the top storey windows, whilst the cold air will enter via the ground floor windows.

If you live in a flat or one bedroom apartment, you can still optimise opening your window in the summer, by placing a fan next to it, as this will draw the cooler air from outside and propel it indoors. If you just place the fan in the middle of the room you are simply moving the hot air around your room.

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