2021 is seeing record-breaking heat in the northern hemisphere this summer. From the west coast to the east coast, people are beginning to experience heat waves that are over 20 degrees Fahrenheit than what they’re used to experiencing.
This unusual heat poses not only discomfort but also health concerns when we’re not fully prepared. Unfortunately, some of the most popular ways of keeping cool can also be the most harmful to the environment.
We wanted to look at some ways to keep cool inside and outside without contributing further to the global warming that we’re currently experiencing. Below is an eco-friendly guide to staying cool, healthy, and safe this summer!
Why Avoid Air Conditioning?
Home AC may bring relief from the heat, but it also contributes to dangerous emissions that contribute to global warming. AC units use a refrigerant that results in a byproduct of gas emissions called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These cause global warming and a depletion of the ozone layer. Not only this, but unclean AC filters can cause health problems as they can harbor allergens and pollutants.
If possible, consider using some more eco-friendly ways to stay cool inside.
- Keep windows and shades closed. If the temperature outside is hotter than it is inside, then an open window will just let in a hot breeze. Sunlight will also heat up your home, so keep those shades closed.
- Add reflective material to your windows – especially those that face the sun. This could include aluminum foil or a reflective film specifically made for windows. These items help to reflect the sun’s light and heat away from your home, keeping things a little cooler.
- Keep damp washcloths in the fridge or freezer. Apply these to your forehead, wrists, and elbows if you’re feeling hot.
- Don’t keep the fridge open! Although it’s tempting to stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open, this just causes the fridge to work harder to maintain it’s temperature, resulting in a hotter appliance. Not to mention, it sucks up electricity.
- Keep your internal temperature down with cold food and drinks. Remember that caffeine and alcohol dehydrates the body, so if you’re enjoying a cold brew, rehydrate yourself with a glass of water. This helps to prevent heat exhaustion.
- Don’t shy away from energy efficient fans. Place bowls of ice in front of your fan to cool down the breeze it’s sending your way. Or, if the temperature drops at night, pull the cold air inside by placing a fan in front of your open windows.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion
With intense heat comes dehydration. One of the important ways to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke is through proper hydration. Keep a cool water bottle on you at all times – and keep it eco-friendly by getting a reusable one. Look for thermal bottles that keep the liquids inside of them cool for hours.
Keep an extra water bottle in the freezer so you can have an ice-cold beverage to place on your forehead or to bring with you if you venture outside. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages, as these can be dehydrating. Instead, choose water or sports drinks.
When going outside, bring a small spritzer bottle (you can find travel-sized ones at most drugstores) and a small, handheld fan. Spritz the skin with water and fan it off to emulate sweating and to stay cool.
If you or a friend are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke (which include pale, clammy skin, nausea, dizziness or weakness, muscle cramps, or lack of sweating), then immediately hydrate, seek out a cold place, and call 911 for medical assistance.
Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends!
Heat can also affect our pets, and it can sometimes be hard to tell when they’re overheating.
Just like with humans, it’s important to make sure your pets are staying hydrated. Place bowls of fresh water throughout the house. Use cold water from the fridge or add some ice cubes.
Get them extra hydrated by adding some water to their dry food, or prioritize wet food before the kibbles. Cats can be finicky with water, so these are some great ways to make sure they’re hydrated.
Dogs might enjoy playing in the hose or sitting in a kiddy pool filled with water. Inside pets will enjoy cooling mats, which contain gel or breathable material that helps to keep them cool.
Keep it Cool This Summer
You’ll have no problem this summer as long as you prepare for the heat with these cooling techniques. You can have peace of mind knowing that there are eco-friendly alternatives to popular cooling methods like AC.
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