It has been widely reported that the first decade of the 21st century was the hottest on record. The next decade has started with temperature extremes in many places also. Follow these tips to stay cool during Summer heat no matter where you are.

misting fan (24471)

Image Flickr Joe Shlabotnick

Seek air conditioning
If you have air conditioning, it's a no-brainer to stay indoors in the air conditioning if possible. Even if you have to be outdoors on very hot days, try to take a break from the heat by going into a store or a mall for a bit to give your body a chance to cool down. You can also go for a ride in your car and get some air conditioning that way. There are reasons movie theaters are popular in the Summer. They were among the first public buildings to offer air conditioning in hot Summer climates. Seeing a movie on a hot day is still a good idea to beat the heat.

Avoid the heat of the day
You can't stop your life because of the heat, but try to avoid the hottest times of the day if possible. If you need to exercise or do yardwork, try to do it before 10 AM or after 4 PM. In Mediterranean countries, shops close down after lunch during the Summer and reopen in the evening when the temperature goes down. If you are outside, wear a hat to shield you from the hot sun. If possible, such as if you are at a kid's soccer game, bring a cooler with ice water in it and a washcloth. Wipe your face and neck with the cold wet cloth periodically to cool off. I have found that if you hold the cold wet cloth between your inner wrists for a minute or two, it cools the blood passing near the skin surface and cools your upper body.

misting fan

Image flick swami stream

Stay hydrated
Drink water to keep your body hydrated. Even if you aren't visibly sweating, your skin can still be drying out because of the high heat. If you are out in the heat, your body uses its internal moisture to help cool the skin by sweating. The sweat evaporates, taking heat with it. Keep drinking so you can replenish this fluid. Sweating helps cool you but also helps the body get rid of toxins through the skin, that's why your sweat can be salty and oily. You are also losing electrolytes, so drink a cold sports drink to help replace these minerals. Another option to beat the heat and add moisture at the same time is by eating cool juicy fruits like melons, oranges or peaches. Some say that drinking hot drinks like tea on a hot day helps cool you. Tea does help you sweat, which cools your skin. This method of cooling is used by desert tribes to cool themselves naturally.

air conditioner

Image Flickr storymary

Dress in light, loose clothes
I mentioned above that you should wear a hat. You should also dress in cool light clothing to enable any breezes to cool you. Wear white or light-colored clothes to help reflect the hot sun away from your body. In the desert, people wear clothes with long pants and sleeves to prtect them from the sun. The cloth is light and loose, though, to allow air circulation around the body. If you can wet a bandanna and drape it around your neck, this helps protect the sun from burning the exposed skin there, but also helps cool your head and neck area. Seek shade if possible. These days there is more awareness of getting skin cancer from sun exposure. In addition to using sunscreen, you can carry an umbrella as people do in the tropics to help shade them from the sun and keep cool.

I hope these ideas help you protect yourself and others from Summer heat.

Additional tips
- If you stop sweating in hot weather and your skin is flushed, you are at risk of heat exhaustion or heast stroke. Drink water and get to a cool spot as soon as possible.

- Cool your body with a shower or dip in a pool if possible during very hot weather.

-Even a small tree-covered area like a park or grassy median can be significantly cooler than paved city streets and sidewalks.

-Small spray bottles can be purchased at dollar stores. Spray your face and arms when outdoors in the heat to help keep your skin cool. Some have an attached fan, so it works as a mini misting fan. These really work!