Tips on staying cool this summer

It’s time to plan ahead for upcoming heat waves, especially if you don’t have AC

With predictions for Canada’s temperatures to surpass 32 degrees this summer, it's time to plan ahead ways to keep cool. (pxfuel)

With predictions for Canada’s temperatures to surpass 32 degrees this summer, it’s time to plan ahead ways to keep cool. (pxfuel)

With spring officially in effect, it’s hard not to start thinking about the summer weather ahead of us.

After enduring the 2021 heat dome, followed by another scorcher last year, this summer will unfortunately be a hot one as well.

Canada’s temperatures will surpass 32 degrees, with most regions set to experience “unrelenting” heat from late June to early September, according to the Farmers’ Almanac summer weather forecast.

While we are still in the spring showers and occasional sunny days phase of the year, now is a good time to start planning for hotter weather.

Perhaps the most helpful tool during heat waves is the beloved air conditioner (AC), or air-con. If your home doesn’t have centralized AC and you’re not in the market for a portable option, knowing places where you can escape to if your house or apartment feels like the inside of an Easy-Bake Oven is essential.

City websites are a great place to look for cooling centres and misting stations. Last year, Surrey issued a notice highlighting its different heat-relief locations, while Vancouver has an interactive map marked with air-conditioned spaces on its website.

Consider bookmarking your city’s webpage on cooling centres to your browser and checking for updates or new posts to plan ahead for the summer heat. You can also reach out to a friend or family member with an AC and join them for a little cool-down sesh.

For when you can safely manage without AC but are still warmer than you would like to be, try getting crafty. 

Ice packs can be used in a variety of ways to cool you down. If you don’t have store bought ones already in your freezer, you can make your own by pouring water into a Ziploc bag or plastic water bottle.

I personally like to sit back and place ice packs on my forehead and around my neck, but you may enjoy having one in your hat or on your pillow.

If you’re annoyed with your fan blowing warm air into your face, fixing some ice packs onto the back of it can help make the air cooler.

As an AC-less person, I’ve gotten into the habit of making little adjustments around my home to make the most out of a warm situation. I close all my blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out and open windows and room doors for some refreshing cross-breeze.

I’ve become aware of where the warmer and colder parts of my home are. Hot air loves to circulate more in my bedroom and hallway than it does in my living room, so I spend more time in the latter.

It’s also important to keep your water jugs full. During the last few heat waves, I drank lots of water to prevent dehydration and help cool down.

While it’s tempting to pop open a can of Pepsi or wedge a lime slice into a Corona, sugary and alcoholic beverages are dehydrating and are no replacement for the clear, precious nectar that is water. 

Heat waves are no joke, and the last couple of years have certainly shown us that. Remember to learn the signs of heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and stroke, check in on the most vulnerable, and stay cool this summer.