The first signs of fall are here and you may already be planning your winter vacation. While it’s great to escape to a warmer destination, you may easily find yourself contending with how to stay cool in dry heat conditions.
If you are not prepared for it, dry heat can really take a toll on your body. During my travels through New Mexico, I found that I had awesome hair days from the low humidity, but my skin quickly grew parched.
The sun has a baking effect in desert climates and it can be quite difficult to not only stay hydrated, but to stay cool, too.
Use these tips to help you minimize the discomfort of being exposed to dry heat during the sunniest times of the day.
Avoid outdoor activities during peak daylight hours
Avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest time of the day, which is generally from 11 am to 2 pm, should minimize the potential for being exposed to excessive dry heat. This will help you avoid discomforts and dehydration.
Plan ahead to making use of your time before 11 am and after 2 pm for outdoor activities. Spend peak sun hours in cool spaces such as the shopping mall, library, cinemas, museums and so on.
While dining during the day, also fill up on water containing fruits and vegetables to help you fight the dry heat later in the day. At the same time, avoid foods that cause dehydration like ones with high sodium or sugar.
Water, water and more water
We can’t stress this enough. Drinking water will help keep you hydrated inside and out. It’s your number one defense against the effects of dry heat.
Keep a cool bottle of water close by and sip away all day. In addition to drinking water, considering adding drinks with electrolytes if you are sweating a lot. Body fluids require the right balance to absorb better and to allow efficient functioning of the body tissues. Drinking lime juice, sports drinks, and fruit juices are useful in this regard.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol at all times during heat because it can contribute to and worsen dehydration.
Dive in and take a swim
Really feeling the heat? Take a swim or cool yourself off with a cool shower. Both will help the body tissues to cool off and will also make you feel more comfortable after spending time outdoors in the dry heat.
However, do give your body a little bit of time to cool off before plunging into the pool. If you are overheated, the drastic temperature change could make you feel ill or be too much of a shock to your system.
Follow your swim or shower with a hydrating lotion for your skin to help combat the drying effects. Also drink plenty of water, especially if you are swimming for a long time. You can actually get dehydrated in a swimming pool, especially if it’s a very hot day.
Wear the right clothing
Wearing loosely fitting clothing made from cotton will prevent heat related discomfort. Clothing that allow circulating air to cool off the skin helps dissipate the heat. Light-colored clothing is generally most effective because it reflects more radiation than dark colored clothing, which tends to absorb more heat.
Review your medications
Certain medications increase your susceptibility for dehydration. Some medicines also prevent adequate sweating from cooling the surface skin.
Over-the-counter antihistamine medications can cause dehydration. Some antidepressant medications can have similar effects.
Be sure to check with your doctor and pharmacist to learn if your medications will make it more difficult for you to deal with dry heat climates.