The kids are out of school, the leaves are green, the vacations are planned… and the temperature is way too hot! We have a few tips for staying cool in the summer heat.
Choose shady adventures
In the shade on a hot summer day, you can feel about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than if you were standing in direct sunlight.
Set a reminder on your watch or phone to get out of the sun and into a shady spot at least once an hour (or more if possible).
Cool air conditioned buildings (like a state park office or a restaurant) can be good opportunities to take a break in nicer temperatures.
Even an outdoor pavilion or umbrella can give you some relief from the sun.
Keeping hydrated can literally be a lifesaver in hot temperatures. The CDC recommends drinking 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15–20 minutes when working in hot weather. This translates to ¾–1 quart (24–32 ounces) per hour. Try to drink small amounts of water at shorter intervals rather than drinking a large amount of water all at once.
Another way to calculate the right amount of water to drink is to divide your body weight in half (using pounds), then drink that many ounces.
Wear the proper clothes
Light, loose fitting clothing can help keep you cooler in hot weather. Try to choose clothes in light colors that can reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them like a dark color would. A hat with a wide rim or bill can shade your face from the sun.
A baseball cap can protect your eyes and face from too much sun. And although you might think of scarves mostly for cold weather, a light silk scarf is a good addition for shielding your face, neck or head from direct sunlight.
Protect your skin
Ultraviolet radiation, also known as UV light, from the sun damages skin cells. This is what leads to sunburns, aging skin and even skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen, especially outdoors on sunny days, can help those UV rays from damaging your skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
When adventuring in the outdoors, you can also protect your skin from bugbites with an insect repellent. A good repellent can provide a little relief from creepy crawlies.
Taking frequent breaks can make a big difference on hot days. Instead of spending all day in the direct heat outdoors, find some cool air inside or at least under a pavilion or umbrella.
Everyone deserves a break! Remember, you get tired more easily in hotter temperatures. Sprawl out on a recliner with a good book or choose a shady picnic table to put together a puzzle with your family.
Take a cool bath or shower
Summertime brings forth memories of dipping in a pool or lake, but a cool shower or bath can be just as refreshing! When the weather gets unbearable, retreat to the bathroom and soak in a tub of lukewarm or cool water. A cold shower can also provide the icy blast you need to chill yourself on a hot day. For an extra treat, use a minty soap to refresh your skin and your outlook on summer.
Plan early morning or nighttime activities
Staying out of the hot noon sun can make a big difference when planning outdoor summer activities. Instead of taking a lunchtime walk, plan a stroll before breakfast or while the sun is setting. Save those hot dogs and marshmallows until after dark. The campfire will look prettier under the stars, and the heat from the fire will be more welcome after the temperatures cool down.
Unless Dad is wearing his cargo shorts with a thousand pockets, you’ll need a good way of carrying all the bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses and water bottles with you on your next summer adventure. Pack your bag at least a few hours before you leave. This will give you time to remember any last-minute items you forgot. Better yet, keep a bag in your vehicle with summertime necessities so they never get left behind.
Stay safe and stay cool, fellow adventurers! Enjoy summer in the Pennsylvania Wilds!