Beat the heat: If I did it, you can do it

Dunk your head in the nearest fountain for immediate relief from the heat.
Dunk your head in the nearest fountain for immediate relief from the heat.

If you live in Chicago, you know that it gets hot as hell in the summer. The sun casts its fiery rays upon the city with such force, the Hancock would surely sweat if it could.

Being from Wisconsin, I’m used to brutal summer heat, in addition to bitterly cold winters. But before I moved to Chicago, I lived a sheltered and luxurious life in which I chilled like a snow cone in a house with central air. I didn’t pay the bill either, so I had a pretty sweet deal. So, when I moved out on my own for the first time in 2009–off campus, reality rained down upon me. Comfort came at a price.

Why should you take tips from me on how to stay cool and survive when temperatures soar this summer? I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on T.V. In fact, the sight of blood makes me hit the ground faster than a frat boy at bar time.

The reason you should take advice from me on keeping cool is because I survived summer in Chicago on the 13th floor of an apartment with no AC.

Imagine doing nothing but sitting on your couch and feeling like you just ran a marathon. Or your clothes sticking to your body through every movement. Or attempting to sleep with a small fan inches from your face on the bed. This was my life.

I’m sure a lot of people in the city have no air-conditioning, or maybe they have one but are weary of turning it on due to the high bill. Whatever the case, I want to provide some tips on how you can survive a brutally hot summer–or tell you how I did, anyway.

1. Camp out at the cafe

Any break you can take from the heat is ideal. All you need is a book, your laptop, and $5. Go to a cafe: Starbucks or another of your choosing and camp out for a few hours. I used to take my laptop to a coffee shop a few blocks away and work on job applications. I was able tp get work done, and escape the sauna that my apartment had turned into.

2. Cold showers

You have to go home at some point. When you do, this will be your most precious relief from the heat. It will cool your body down temporarily, and provide you with another brief break from the heat. On 90+ days, it won’t last long once you step out of the bathroom, so cherish it. Up the frequency as necessary.

3. Put your blanket in the freezer

It sounds ridiculous. But ridiculous circumstances require equally absurd solutions. Take a blanket. Get it wet or keep it dry (The preference is yours). Throw it in the freezer for a good 15-20 minutes, remove and wrap around your body for a temporary cooling sensation. Depending on the temperature, this sensation may be short-lived, but hey, it’s something.

4. Water

This is common sense. Even if you’re not a doctor. Drink it, and a lot of it. Even if you aren’t thirsty, drink. Because you’re losing more of it than you think. Also, ice. Ice water. Cool your body down while hydrating yourself.

5. Don’t cook

Eat out–preferably at a restaurant with air conditioning. Or get take-out. Using the stove or oven will only add to the already brutal heat.

6.. Don’t forget family, friends, and pets.

If you haven’t keeled over yet from heat exhaustion, and you still can summon the energy to pick up the phone, call your loved ones. Share these tips with them.

7. Pets, too.

Don’t forget to leave plenty of water out for your pets if you have any. Make sure there are places in your apartment with little light exposure that they can seek out for some relief. Also, a tip I read in a recent article–leave ice cubes out for pets to play with/lick before they melt. It can be a fun thing to bat around and also something cold they can touch. Cats and dogs are not house plants. Take the proper steps to keep them cool or they will be in danger.

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