In the U.S. the worst city riots, be they New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, or some other metropolis tend to take place during the dog days of summer. Also Romeo and Juliet takes place during the summer: hot-headed rich kids with nothing better to do with their time than get into fights, oh yeah, and a love story too. ;)
I'm put in mind of all of this mainly because I lack that blessing known as central air. Unfortunately unlike the great Southern writers (Williams, Faulkner, and Hellman to name a few) being uncomfortable does not improve or inspire my craft. So I am actually going to give you some tips to beat the heat. These are actually tips that I use so I can heartily recommend them. If, like my family, you lack centralized means of cooling, read on:
1. Drink plenty of fluids. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well it's not as easy as it sounds. On hot days when you don't feel like eating much, you don't feel like drinking much either. Something about the mercury rising makes one's stomach feel full sooner than it would in cooler temps. Water is the obvious choice, health-wise; taste-wise, not so much. I don't like water and I know I'm not alone on this. But I try anyway. Usually keeping it ice cold helps. I also drink fruit juices and add water to them in about a 2:1 juice to water ratio. Limit caffeine intake as caffeine is a diuretic, which means it actually makes you lose water from your system (not the medical explanation but that's a rough translation).
2. Stay indoors. Unless you like being roasted, then by all means venture out into the oppressive furnace I call the sunny summer day.
3. If you do go outside, wear sunblock. Aside from preventing skin cancer, this will help keep you hydrated because a sunburn takes moisture out of your skin, which you then need to replace.
4. Light-weight yet concealing clothes. I know it seems to run counter to stay-cool knowledge to wear long sleeves, skirts and pants, but it will help protect you from the sun. Just be sure to wear natural fabrics. Synthetics don't "breathe" the way natural fibers do.
5. If you have window AC units or fans, use them. Just keeping the air moving makes it feel cooler. My great-grandmother swore by opening windows every night after sundown and closing them by 10 AM every morning. She must have lived in a less humid climate than mine, and nowhere near train tracks. But if the humidity and noise aren't issues where you live, this is an great energy saving way to cool your abode.
6. Last one, I promise. Avoid cooking as much as possible. Use the microwave instead of the oven. Eat chilled fruit, ice cream, cold cereal, etc. In addition to cooling your system, you save on energy usage.
Those are the basis of my stay-cool policies. What are some things you do to keep from burning up in the summer heat?