Keep it cool and fresh this sum­mer

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Although we are renowned for be­ing a na­tion of sun lovers, very few of us en­joy the var­i­ous heatwaves that are plagu­ing the coun­try at the mo­ment. It's al­ways hot at this time of the year and although we may moan and groan about the tem­per­a­ture, we live with it.

How­ever, the weather phe­nom­e­non El

Niño has changed all of this and we are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tem­per­a­tures that are break­ing all sorts of records.

Keep­ing cool has be­come a na­tional pas­time and although many live in air-con­di­tioned lux­ury and have swim­ming pools in which to cool off, huge num­bers of peo­ple do not en­joy these priv­i­leges and they are suf­fer­ing. Cool down your home - and your­self - with these use­ful tips:

Ways to cool things down

There are ways to cool things down and make life more bear­able, par­tic­u­larly in the home. These tips will help take the sting out of the scorch­ing days and nights.

Keep the sun­shine out by clos­ing cur­tains and blinds dur­ing the day.

In­vest in a fan and stand it in front of a win­dow in or­der to push the hot air out. Ad­just your ceil­ing fans to run coun­ter­clock­wise. This will draw the hot air up­wards in­stead of merely cir­cu­lat­ing heated air.

You can cool things down even fur­ther by fill­ing a shal­low dish, such as a roast­ing pan, with ice and plac­ing it in front of a fan. The breeze will take the cold wa­ter from the sur­face of the ice and trans­form it into a cool mist.

Hang wet sheets in front of an open win­dow. This will cool down any hot air blow­ing through and will lower the tem­per­a­ture of the room.

Turn off the lights and light a can­dle - light bulbs, re­gard­less of how low the wattage, give off heat. Why not watch TV, en­joy a meal or sim­ply re­lax by can­dle­light?

Keep your­self cool

Re­gard­less of how much cooler you are able to make your home, you're still go­ing to feel the heat if you don't lower your core tem­per­a­ture. Keep­ing your­self cool is a rel­a­tively easy ex­er­cise and doesn't have to cost a for­tune.

Any­one who has ever sat with their feet in a swim­ming pool will know how this helps cool hot bod­ies down. If you're nowhere near a pool, soak your feet in a bucket of cold wa­ter when­ever the heat be­comes un­bear­able.

Place an ice pack or a cool, damp face­cloth on your wrists, neck, el­bows, an­kles and be­hind your knees. Cool­ing down the var­i­ous pulse points on the body will help tremen­dously.

Don't eat heavy foods such as stews and casseroles dur­ing the sum­mer months. Eat­ing a heavy meal will make you feel hot­ter. Turn­ing on the stove or oven is also go­ing to heat things to an un­bear­able tem­per­a­ture in the kitchen. Avoid cook­ing in­side as much as pos­si­ble by braai­ing and eat­ing sal­ads.

Hot sum­mer nights

Although things tend to cool down a lit­tle in the evenings, hot weather af­fects our abil­ity to nod off. Make life a lit­tle more bear­able dur­ing those hot, balmy nights of sum­mer.

Take a cold shower be­fore turn­ing in for the night.

Only use cot­ton sheets and du­vet cov­ers dur­ing the sum­mer months. Other fab­rics such as ny­lon and satin don't breathe and will make your nights un­com­fort­ably warm.

The wrong sort of pil­low can make you sweat. Con­sider in­vest­ing in a buck­wheat pil­low - they al­low air to cir­cu­late while you sleep and are much cooler to sleep on that their cot­ton or feather coun­ter­parts. An­other nifty idea is to fill a sock with rice, place it in the freezer for an hour and place it around your neck.

Place your sheets in a plas­tic bag and place in the freezer for half an hour or so be­fore go­ing to bed. While the ef­fects of the cold will be fairly short-lived, it should give you some respite from the heat, al­low­ing you to nod off in rel­a­tive com­fort.

Fill a hot wa­ter bot­tle and freeze it to cre­ate a sort of wa­ter­proof ice brick.

Al­ter­na­tively you could dampen your sheets be­fore turn­ing in, although it's im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to place a towel un­der the sheet to avoid soak­ing the mat­tress in the process.

Wear loose-fit­ting cot­ton night­clothes to bed. www.pri­vateprop­

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