As heat waves continue to hit the US, it’s important to stay safe to when having fun in the sun. If you plan to spend time outside, be sure you’re prepared with the essentials to keep cool.
Here are 10 items you can use to survive this year’s heat waves and summer highs.
1. Electrolyte powder
When you spend lots of time in the heat, your body actively loses water and electrolytes — minerals found in the body that have a charge — through sweat. It’s important to replace that lost water and electrolytes with fluids. If you struggle to drink eight cups of water a day in the summer (and sometimes you need more if you’re extremely active in the heat), an electrolyte drink can help replenish your body.
The best electrolyte powders usually contain sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphate, chloride or magnesium. Electrolytes such as these can balance your body’s water and pH levels, move nutrients throughout your cells, carry out waste from your cells, and ensure all muscles, bodily functions and nerves are working properly.
2. Water bottle
Rule No. 1 for surviving the heat: drink lots of water. Whether this is water or an electrolyte drink, hydration in the summer is key. You don’t want to become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling tired, dark yellow urine, sunken eyes, headache and feeling lightheaded.
I find that I drink the most water when I carry a water bottle around with me. I also drink more water when it stays ice cold throughout the day. An insulated water bottle — one made with stainless steel — will do just that.
3. Portable fan
When you miss the indoors or are dealing with broken AC, a portable fan is handy. Cool down while on a walk, traveling or doing anything in the sun. It can even be useful for summer camping or hanging at the beach.
Look for a portable fan that can be easily rechargeable. There are even fans that can mist your face.
If you want to beat the heat, you first need to make sure your skin is protected. Wearing sunscreen should always be a priority if you’re doing anything outside this summer. In addition to wearing sunglasses, a hat or UV protective clothing, sunscreen provides a shield to your delicate skin. Sunscreen provides not only protection from sun cancer but also signs of sun damage and premature aging.
You can try chemical, mineral or combo sunscreen. If you want a sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast, look for a product with a light serum. If you have acne-prone skin, use a sensitive mineral or combo sunscreen.
5. Countertop ice machine
There is nothing better than an ice cold drink on a hot day. You can bring the ice directly to you with a countertop ice machine. Add ice to your water or store beverages and take them with you; a countertop ice machine can be transported from one place to another. Take it camping orbring it to an outdoor party. As long as you have access to an outlet, you can have cold ice handy.
6. Cooling pillow
When it comes to sleeping cool, using a fan, AC or light pajamas might be your go-to solution. However, changing your bedding is another easy fix. A cooling pillow is designed to not retain any body heat and to provide as much breathability as possible. Some cooling pillows even have a cool to the touch cover.
Pillows made of materials such as non-perforated and non-gel memory foam trap in heat and will only make you more hot at night. Look for cooling pillows made of latex, foam, silk, cotton or bamboo. Note that the pillowcase you use may affect the cooling sensation of any pillow. I recommend looking for a silk, satin or light cotton pillowcase to go along with your cooling pillow.
7. Neck fan
Why hold a fan in front of your face when one can sit on your neck? If you are working outside or have your hands full, a neck fan is practical. Shaped like headphones, neck fans wrap around the neck and both sides blow up toward the sides of your face and back of your neck. It’s perfect for sitting inside without AC or working under the sun.
8. Cooling towels
A handheld towel or rag is great to dry off after exercising, playing sports or doing hard work under the sun. A cooling towel is a step above. Just get these towels wet with cold water, wring out the extra and shake it. Then, wrap the cooling towel around your neck or dab your face; it should stay cool for around 30 minutes. When it starts to warm up again, just add more water and repeat the process.
These towels are great for a hot, summertime walk, relaxing at the beach or a long hike up the mountains.
9. Cooling sheets
Similar to cooling pillows, cooling sheets can help dissipate your body heat. Cooling sheets are never made with materials like flannel or heavy cotton that trap heat. The best sheets for the summer will be made with bamboo, cotton, silk, Tencel, linen, polyester, microfiber or lyocell.
For optimal summer bedding, switch to cooling sheets, a cooling comforter, a cooling pillowcase and a cooling pillow.
10. Cold facial mask
A fun way to cool down is to use a cold facial mask. While I don’t recommend wearing this outside, a cold compress can help calm hot, sweaty skin and bring down your internal temperature after being outside in the sun. Similar to cold rollers or certain eye creams, a cold face mask can even help depuff eyes. And if you are prone to migraines, a cold facial mask can aid a pounding headache.