Tips for Staying Cool in Extreme Heat

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Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Global warming is definitely a thing, and with a heat wave happening in the UK, I thought I’d do a quick post about ways to cope with extreme heat.

Windows & blinds

When it’s really hot outside, air coming in from outside through open windows is not a good thing, nor is sun shining in. Keep windows closed and blinds drawn during the day, and open them at night to let cooler air in.

Ice & water

I learned this trick from my blogging friend Liz – to keep caged pets comfortable, freeze containers of ice and then put them next to the pet’s cage. More generally, though, put several containers of water in the freezer when you go to bed, and then take them out at various points throughout the day.

Get the most out of your fans by putting a container of ice in front of them and/or covering them with a wet towel.

The fridge/freezer generates heat when it’s working to cool things, so night is the best time to make ice. The fridge and freezer release more heat the harder they work, and they don’t need to work as hard when they’re full, so if you’ve got extra room, stick some containers of water in them to fill them up and help keep them cold.

I found an Apartment Therapy article that suggests wetting a washcloth and putting it in a U-shape to fit around the back of your neck, then keep it in that shape and place it in the freezer. Then take the frozen washcloth out of the freezer and put it around your neck to cool you down. A cool wet washcloth/towel around your neck is another option.


When it’s hot and you’re sweating a lot, you’re sweating out sodium (and smaller amounts of other electrolytes) as well as water. If you’re loading up with water, that dilutes the already-depleted sodium levels in your blood. Lithium, sodium, and potassium are chemically very similar to one another (they’re all ions with a +1 charge), so if you’re taking lithium, your kidneys will respond to electrolyte loss through sweat by reducing the amount of ions (including lithium) that they’re excreting. This can throw your lithium levels out of whack and make you feel yucky.

So, besides hydrating with water, it’s important to take in electrolytes as well. In terms of fluids, options include coconut water (preferably the unflavoured stuff without extra sugar), milk, orange juice, or sports drinks like Gatorade (although these have a lot of sugar). You can also munch on salty foods. A combo of coconut water and potato chips is my go-to for heat & lithium-related wooziness.

In my neck of the woods on the Canadian west coast, we had a heat dome last year that resulted in multiple deaths, but we haven’t had any extreme weather so far this summer. Fingers crossed that it will continue that way.

Do you have any tips for staying cool in extreme heat that you’d like to share?

40 thoughts on “Tips for Staying Cool in Extreme Heat”

  1. Arizona in December when it’s 85F and you’re in the pool instead of in a blizzard? Glorious. Arizona in August after a hike you thought was a good idea because you started at 6 AM when it was only 94F? Have fun getting acquainted with your toilet.

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