BeingGreen: Staying Warm & Cool Without Electricity: Part 2.

April 10, 2009

Even though I conveniently forgot to do this one last week (warning: Script Frenzy will ruin your life, kthxbai), I decided that there was no way I was going to let this Friday pass without wrapping up this topic.  So here I am.

In the last article, I covered various methods for staying warm without eating up your electrical bill.  Now I move onto a greater challenge: staying cool.

The reason I view it as a greater challenge is because, unlike heat, your body does not produce coolness.  You have to get it in from the inside.  More accurately, you achieve it by removing heat from your body.  Wearing cool clothes helps with this process, via the same method that allows it to make you cold in cooler weather, but only if the air is sufficiently cool.  If the air is warmer than you, you’re going to end up absorbing heat no matter what you wear.

So how do you stay cool?  Well… there are a few options.

  1. Stay hydrated.  Sweat, though unsightly and often malodorous, is your first line of defense against heat.  By sitting on your skin, it helps to suck heat out from your body and… er… I’m not entirely sure where the heat goes.  I only know that it works.  Drink an adequate (not excessive!) amount of water so that your sweat glands have something to secrete.
  2. Eat/drink cold stuff.  Ice water, ice cream, and frozen fruit will all suck heat from your body (and taste darned good in the meantime).  Just watch out for the sugars, and don’t overdo it.  The only thing worse than being hot is being hot and sick on sugar or water.
  3. Go to your shower – or your kitchen sink – and spray down your hair.  As mentioned earlier, water sucks out body heat, and there’s no better place to lose it than your head.  In addition to your head’s basic heat-loss properties, your hair will trap the water and keep you cool for a longer duration of time.
  4. Take a cool shower or bath.  This method has been employed by both animals and humans for as long as there have been animals and humans with temperature-regulation problems (or pretty close, anyway) and for good reason.  Take the sweat effect and magnify it, and you’ve got what a bath can do for you.  If you don’t have access to a bath, or don’t want to use the water, wet a cloth and wipe down your face, your chest, and behind your ears.

Finally, there are a few common-sense tips that you can follow to make sure you don’t pick up excess heat:

  1. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.  These will help to reflect heat away from you while trapping any cool air you might accumulate.
  2. Stay indoors as much as possible.  I know; who’d have thought it’d be green to avoid nature?  But it’s easier to get and stay cool in a controlled environment.  Go outside where it’s hot, and you end up reabsorbing heat, which means you have to get cooled down all over again.  (Pool parties are excluded.)
  3. Wear shoes only if you’re walking on a hot surface.  If the surface is cool, it’s better to lose the shoes and let the heat leak out through your feet.

That pretty much covers it… and it’s about twenty-five minutes until midnight, so it’s off to bed for me.  Adios.

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