Six Ways to Stay Cool … and Alive

WELLNESS--We have been having record breaking heat in Southern California and with the planet continuing to warm up, there’s a good chance we have not seen the end of it.

This past week Los Angeles and San Diego have felt more like Arizona with temperatures reaching 117 in some places. Heat records all over southern California were toppled and at one point in Los Angeles alone there were over 32,000 residents without power. 

Not having air conditioning with temperatures that high can range from very uncomfortable to downright dangerous. There are some creative ways to stay cool without AC. Before you read on know that serious injury and death can occur from heat alone. If there is any question or if you are feeling symptoms of HEAT STROKEsuch as throbbing headache, nauseousness, dizziness or rapid heartbeat call 911 or have a friend take you to the hospital immediately.  


When there's a major rainstorm or snowstorm in other parts of the country it goes without saying to stay inside during bad weather. We need to look at this extreme heat as a heat storm and cut way back or completely eliminate leaving the home.  In LA county 1 in 5 calls to 911 was due to people suffering from overheating. 


The body has a pretty amazing cooling system, and if the AC is not working grab a bucket and fill it with ice. Submerging your feet alone will effectively cool down your entire body. Also one can purchase a rubber canister that holds water and put it in the freezer. Before bed grab it and keep it close to you to drop the temperature of the bed while you sleep. Buying two and alternating them out when one thaws is effective. Also filling a large bowl with ice and placing in front of a fan to create a makeshift AC is better than nothing. Finally, using small ice packs on the pulse points of the wrists and behind the knees is a quick cool down trick as well.  


If you need to leave the house be sure to use the proper clothes preferable made out of cotton since it breathes. Protect your head and face with a hat and be sure to wear sunglasses. Sleeveless shirts and open toed shoes will also help to keep the body cool, just be sure to wear sunscreen on any exposed skin.  


If you have no AC then multiple fans are your friend. If you live in an upstairs apartment put at least one fan so it is sucking the hot air out of the window. Adjust the ceiling fan so the hot air is being pulled up and leave the others circulating the air around you.  


We lose up to twice as much water from sweating when the heat is on so it is very important to drink lots of water during heat waves. Some say up to a gallon a day for active individuals. Water can also be used as a cold shower to lower body temperatures.  


Remember there are places like libraries and community centers one can go to escape their hot homes.  This is especially helpful during the hottest times of the day. If you need a break get out and into a public place even a coffee shop until the worst part of the day is over. Stay cool out there this summer season and remember to check in on your older friends and family members. 


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA www.AcupuncturebyChristian.comTV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 310.909.6956 twitter: @CristianoWFR )