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Environment & Science

7 little-known tricks to beat the heat

It's. So. Hot. How can you avoid sweating through your shirt?
It's. So. Hot. How can you avoid sweating through your shirt?
Ryan Hyde/Flickr Creative Commons

It's hot out. Monday's got an expected high of 99 in Los Angeles, with triple-digit heat in the San Fernando Valley. Amidst all of that, what's a Southern Californian to do? Here are some tips to keep cool in the face of temperature calamity:

  1. Make your own air conditioner: Take a small bowl of ice, put it in front of a fan and get cool air blown on you. It's best to use when it's hot, but not humid — which is the weather we often get here in Southern California.
  2. Keep your butt cool: Drop an ice pack or a frozen water bottle into a car seat to keep it cool while you're out shopping. You'll come back to a car seat that doesn't make you feel like you're sitting on a campfire.
  3. The secret temperature of sweat: Most people start to sweat at 78 degrees, so if you want to remain relatively comfortable, set your thermostat to 77 degrees — and keep the windows and doors closed when it's above that, to keep your inside cool and the hot air out.
  4. Wear white after Labor Day: Look, it's a fashion faux pas, but if you're living somewhere hot, it's the smartest move. If you wear lightweight, nonrestrictive, light-colored clothing, you can help keep the heat at bay. Fine, go off-white, or perhaps a nice light yellow.
  5. Get your Dick Tracy/Indiana Jones look on: A wide-brimmed hat is the smart choice if you have to be out in the heat, protecting you from the sun and keeping you cool. Throw on some sunglasses and rock a little Arnold/Terminator style as well.
  6. Close your curtains: If you keep your curtains closed, you can reduce the amount of heat entering your home by up to 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. White shades, drapes or blinds do the most, particularly on south- and west-facing windows.
  7. Chill your sheets out: Take your sheets, put them in a plastic bag and stick that in the refrigerator a couple of hours before bed. It's hard to sleep when it's too hot, and some cool refrigerated sheets should help you out.