Over the past few years, the Pacific Northwest has experienced more heat waves than we are accustomed to. Unfortunately, this persistent hot weather not only makes people uncomfortable in homes without air conditioning, but also creates more cases of heat-related illness.
You and your family need strategies to beat the heat. If you are a PNW resident, here are some ways to keep yourself cool in hot weather – even if your home doesn’t have air conditioning right now.
How to Keep Yourself Cool With or Without Air Conditioning
Windows and blinds
One way to keep your home cool is to prevent the sun’s light – and heat – from coming in through the windows, especially windows that are in the path of direct sunlight. Closing the blinds or curtains over your windows during the day helps block the sun’s heat, keeping the air inside the home cool. If the outside temperature cools down at night, you can open your windows then to let the cool air in.
Closing the blinds is especially important during the afternoon, when sunlight is usually the most intense.
Having any sort of air circulation in your home helps keep the interior air moving and avoids stagnation, which can negatively affect air quality. There are several strategies you can use to help achieve air circulation:
- Keep the doors open in your house.
- Open windows that are not in the path of direct sunlight.
- Use fans to aid in circulating air.
At night, keep the windows open so the cooler night air can circulate through your home while you sleep.
Loose, light-fitting clothing
Loose, light-fitting clothes are a must-have for hot weather because they don’t allow the heat to get trapped close to your body. These clothes give space for the air to flow over your skin, allowing sweat to evaporate, which cools you off.
It’s also a good idea to wear light colors. Dark colors absorb the sun’s heat and can make you feel hotter.
Getting cold water on your skin helps cool you off. If you are hot, having a consistent stream of cool water flow over your body can lower your body temperature. Taking a cool shower before bed can also help you sleep.
Spritzing yourself with water can help you feel cooler. This is a good strategy to stay cool, especially if you are not able to take a shower or otherwise submerge yourself in cool water.
You can create a water spritzer by filling a spray bottle with cool or room-temperature water. Then you can spray your face whenever you feel too hot.
Cold drinks with ice
When it becomes hot, your body responds by sweating, meaning that you lose more of your body’s water through sweat. This causes you to become dehydrated more easily. In addition, you also lose electrolytes, which are essential to several body functions.
You can counter these conditions by drinking water or other beverages that have a high electrolyte count. On the flip side, you may want to avoid coffee and alcohol, as these drinks can make you even more dehydrated.
Cool outdoor spaces
If your home is too hot for you and your family, and you don’t have access to a building with air conditioning, it is important to find a cool outdoor space. Spend time in the shade, or visit a covered or forested area away from city spaces. You may also want to visit a pool, another body of water, or a place with sprinklers.
What Happens If You Get Too Warm?
When your body becomes too warm, you are at risk for developing a heat stroke. Heat strokes occur when your body becomes so hot that it is unable to cool itself. If left untreated, it can lead to disability or death.
How to Recognize Heat Stroke
Symptoms of heat stroke include a rapid pulse, high body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), and red, dry or damp skin. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, and nausea.
A person with heat stroke may also become confused, often to the point of being in denial. If severe enough, heat stroke can even lead to seizures or a loss of consciousness.
What to Do If You Get Heat Stroke
If you notice somebody having a heat stroke, the first thing you should do is call 911. Then move the person to a shaded area. Use cool, damp cloths or a cool bath to help reduce their body temperature. Stay with the person until emergency services arrive.
Do You Need Air Conditioning?
For many people in the Pacific Northwest today, air conditioning may not be optional anymore. Senior citizens, people who work outside, and those who are taking certain medications, overweight, or pregnant may be more at risk of developing heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses during hot weather. Others who are less at risk can also benefit from air conditioning, especially during heat waves.
You need ways to cool yourself off during heat waves and other hot days, and the easiest way to ensure you can stay cool is to get air conditioning. Fortunately, there are many different air conditioning options that can work with any home, like central air conditioning and heat pumps.
Central air conditioning works best in larger homes that already have existing ductwork. These systems often have a better filtration quality than other options and are known to be reliable.
Ductless heat pumps, on the other hand, are more effective at cooling smaller spaces. They don’t require existing ductwork and work well in mild climates. These systems are energy efficient and are considered to be better for the environment.
Whether your home is new or old, big or small, Paragon has many air conditioning options for customers to choose from. We want to ensure that you and your family are prepared for the hot days ahead.
If you are a Puget Sound resident without AC, what are you waiting for? Get a quote on an air conditioner from Paragon today.