No AC? How to Stay Cool in the World of COVID
Keeping cool may be a little more challenging than usual this summer if you don’t have air conditioning. In the past, local cooling centers, public pools, malls and movie theaters have been good options for escaping the heat. But things have changed due to COVID-19. And even though these places may be open now, they may not be the best option for you, especially if you’re at high-risk of complications from coronavirus.
When temperatures rise, here are some other ways to help you remain cool and comfortable:
Keep Air Flowing – Circulate the air in your home with box or oscillating pedestal fans. Reverse the direction of box fans in windows to blow air out during the hottest part of the day. When the sun goes down and the temperature drops, change the position of the fan or blades and blow air into your home. If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate counter-clockwise. This direction draws hot air up to the ceiling and helps keep rooms cooler.
Close Window Coverings – Shutter, blinds, draperies and blackout curtains prevent the sun from heating your home during the day. In fact, sunlight accounts for 20% of summer heat in your home, according to This Old House. For maximum cooling, close window coverings in the morning before the sun begins to affect the temperature in your home.
Cool Off with Water – A cool shower may lower your body temperature when your home becomes oppressively hot. But although a shower before bed can be helpful, the effects only last a short time. If you’re too hot to sleep, try soaking your feet in cold water, or wring out a cool wash cloth and place it on the back of your neck or on your feet.
Stay Low – Spend as much time as possible in the lower levels of your home if you have a multi-story home. Heat builds up in upper levels throughout the day. Create a temporary living space in your basement, if you have one, to use on hot days and consider sleeping there. Or sleep on the first floor of your home if upstairs is too hot.
Hydrate – When it’s hot out, it’s more important than ever to drink lots of fluids. Water is the best option for staying hydrated without added calories or sugar. Avoid alcohol, which can be dehydrating.
Limit Activity – Take care of mowing, weeding, cleaning or strenuous activities during the early morning hours when it’s cooler outside. Performing these chores during the heat of the day may increase your risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
Investigate Local Options – Many areas of the country are making modifications to their usual cooling options this summer due to COVID-19. Some areas may be using convention centers and sports venues as cooling centers so there is enough room for social distancing. Others may have instituted special areas for at-risk groups so they are more protected from others using the facility. Government officials in your area may have a few creative ideas on how to keep residents cool and safe so look into what your options are.
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Date Last Reviewed: June 17, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD