beat the summer heat

How to Beat the Summer Heat at Your Home with a Smile on Your Face

Our summers are getting hotter with each passing year. This year, it’s all set to be another sizzling and scorching summer with temperatures scaling new records. As such, cities like Kolkata are already feeling the heat, testing 40oC in the early weeks of May. In fact, Kolkata tops the list of 44 most heat-stressed megacities across the world, according to a study, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The report defines ‘heat stress’ as “human body experiencing more heat than it can tolerate, and is calculated using the heat index that incorporates both air temperature and humidity conditions.”

Summer heat not only slows down the performance of our brain and make us feel tired, but it poses more serious risks. In 2016, severe heat wave claimed nearly 40% of the total deaths caused due to extreme weather conditions across the country, as reported by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Faced with the heat, you will instinctively want to take refuge in cool places, look out for a seat right under the fan, and enjoy wearing comfortable clothes. But how do you beat the summer heat and stay cool throughout the day? Here are some tips to cool your body from inside out.

Drink Enough Fluids

The best way to quench your thirst in this sweltering heat is to drink lots of water. Humidity and excessive sweating are phenomenal attributes of the city, so it’s also necessary to restore the body fluids lost due to increased perspiration. Fresh coconut water and juices of mosambi, orange, lemon, and sugar cane are ideal summer drinks that replenish the vital minerals and help you cool down. But, make sure that the juices are freshly made and served hygienically. Otherwise, it may do more harm than good.

Include Daily Portions of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Nature has gifted us with a variety of fruits and vegetables to combat the summer heat. Luckily, in India, during summers we have access to seasonal fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Fruits like mango, litchi, watermelon, musk melon, and vegetables like pointed gourd (parwal), okra, spinach etc. are wonderful sources of water, vitamin, and minerals. Including these foods in your daily diet can help you stay refreshed, healthy, and energised.

Stick to Light Coloured Cotton Fabric

Cotton is perfect for Kolkata summer as the fabric, unlike its synthetic counterparts, helps your skin to ‘breathe’. The natural fabric acts like a soft towel — absorbing the sweat off your skin and helping it to evaporate into the atmosphere. This safeguards your skin from infections by restricting the growth of harmful yeast and bacteria. Lighter shades of cotton like icy blue, pastel green, beige, yellow, and white disperse body heat and reflect back the sun rays as well, which help you handle the heat better when you’re out in the sun.

Paint Your Home With Summer-Appropriate Colours

Revamp your home this summer with soft colours to make it naturally cool. Soothing interior colours can provide a calm refuge in the scorching summer heat. Various shades of blues, greens, and violets have positive physiological effects that create a pleasant vibe and a relaxed home environment. Preferably use heat reflective paints to lower down the room temperature by a few notches.

Surround Yourself With More Trees, Plants, and Greenery

Trees, plants, and shrubs are proven heat neutralizers. Green plants have inherent qualities to soak the heat and cool down the temperature. Having water plants, both in the garden (if you have one) as well as in the indoors is a great idea. If possible, place the plants close to the windows in the eastern and southern corners of your apartment. An assemblage of money plant, climbers, bamboo, and bottle palms are ideal indoor plants that make your home greener and more comfortable to stay in. A regularly watered terrace garden can be an excellent insulation against the sun’s heat.

In addition to this, a simple thing like placing a bowl of water with drops of eucalyptus oil in your living rooms will help refresh the air and cool the interiors.

Other Ways to Beat the Heat

Lighting has a terrific effect on the room temperature. Avoid using high-power bulbs and sodium lights as they are known to produce massive amounts of heat. Dimly lit environments help minimise the heat inside your house.

Vinyl wallpapers are a superb option as they absorb heat and lessen the temperature. Other wallpapers with aquatic motifs and floral prints can significantly reduce the heat quotient and make your home cooler. Bird baths, indoor fountains, aquariums, and water rangolis have a fantastic effect in taming the blistering summer heat.

Being exposed to extreme heat during summer time can drain out more than a litre of water in a short span of time. This sudden dehydration can lead to a fatal sun stroke. Immediately rush into an air-conditioned mall or ATM if you experience chest pain or feel dizzy while on the go. Splash water on your face and keep drinking ORS solution (a mixture of sugar, salt, and water) at regular intervals.

Remember, the key to stay safe and comfortable in the summer is to stay hydrated and to make healthy choices.

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