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Heat Wave 2022 isn’t over yet.
In July, the Pacific Northwest — land of rain and lush forests — battled temperatures that were 10 t0 15 degrees above average. Parts of Europe experienced destructive wildfires, and some regions of the United Kingdom had their driest July in nearly 200 years.
Now it’s August, and the heat is showing no sign of retreat. The National Weather Service anticipates more record-breaking temperatures in the Northwest this week, with heat advisories also in place in Texas and for parts of the Midwest and East Coast. Unfortunately, climate change will likely make these seasonal events a dangerous new normal — excessive heat can kill if folks are caught unprepared.
Air conditioning seems like the simplest solution to these woes, but not everyone has it — in cooler parts of the country, like the Pacific Northwest, it wasn’t always considered necessary. And anyone on a limited budget may not have the funds to upgrade. Plus, even if you do have air conditioning, half the fun of summer is spending time outdoors.
Here’s a short list of items to have on hand for the sweltering days ahead, whether it’s Heat Wave 2022 or Heat Wave 2023 and the ones destined to follow it.
Stay Hydrated With Cool Water:
No surprises here — keeping up a steady water intake is key to beating the heat. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people working up a sweat outdoors should aim to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. And if it’s ice cold water, so much the better. That’s where insulated bottles like these are lifesavers.
These Zulu water bottles claim to keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours. A removable base allows users to easily add in ice cubes as needed — and it’s handy for cleaning, too. One Amazon customer joked that the bottle’s only flaw is that it doesn’t come with GPS tracking — if you lose it, you’ve just got to buy a new one!
Wear Cooling Fabrics:
Whether you’re inside or out, your outfit can impact your comfort. Opt for fabrics designed to wick away moisture, like Nike’s Dri-Fit. (Other brands have their own versions, like Under Armour’s Iso-Chill and Champion’s Double Dry.)
If the occasion calls for more fashion and less function, choose clothes in light colors that fit loosely to allow air circulation.
Add A ‘Cool’ Accessory:
This affordable cooling wrap works like the opposite of a winter scarf: Drape it around your neck to help stay refreshed in withering heat. The wrap cools down by soaking for 20 minutes in cold water before use. Polymer beads inside trap the cold for about an hour, then wearers can give it another water dip or a spritz of cool water to refresh.
At about $9 each, they’re a nice option for the whole fam — and they come in lots of colors and designs, too.
Stay Cool Overnight:
Those little moments of coolness really count in summertime, even when the sun’s gone for the day. Amazon customers are big fans of these chilly sheets made with organic bamboo viscose.
One reviewer, Denise, wrote a five-star review, saying the sheets were “cool and refreshing” and “stayed cool all night.” Another customer, Estelle, wrote that she washes these and puts them right back on the bed — adding that she regrets only buying one set.
Carry A Portable Fan:
This durable little guy is great to have around during any summer, but especially for the temps we’re feeling in Heat Wave 2022. HandFan’s Portable Misting Fan holds enough water to produce mist for about 40 minutes at a time, or you can go mist-free at three different speeds. The fan also has three configurations: Handheld, desktop or hanging, via its metal clip. It’s rechargeable, too!
“This is an awesome fan,” wrote Amazon reviewer Doug. “I have had several portable fans like this one and this is definitely the best … It’s definitely the strongest fan I’ve seen of this type.”
Seal Your Home:
If a string of hot days are on the way, consider closing up any gaps in windows and exterior doors with weather stripping.
This easy-to-apply foam insulation helps stop hot air from sneaking into your home — and keeps that precious cool air from leaking out. Cut it to size, then press the tape into place. Boom. Done.
Minimize Excess Heat Inside:
Running the clothes dryer, even on a “cool” setting, adds unwanted heat inside your home in summer. Give your house — and the grid — a break and try using a clothesline or drying rack, like this foldable one from Jauree, to air-dry your laundry. If you’re worried about the clothing becoming stiff, set the drying rack outdoors so the wind can move through the fabrics, or run them on air dry for a few minutes before hanging.
Of course, you might want to wear your Koolgator around your neck while you’re hanging stuff up! It’s beastly out there, after all.
Keep Your Car From Being An Oven:
As nice as it would be to stay holed up in the air conditioning all summer, sometimes you’ve got to get out into the heat. This Amazon bestseller helps keep your car from turning into a mobile pizza oven, hopefully saving you a little gas as your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to compensate.
The foldable shade comes with a storage pouch to keep things tidy when it’s not in use. It also comes in eight sizes to match various windshields — all the way up to a 51-by-102-inch shade made for RVs.
Supplement Your Car’s Air Conditioner:
People in the backseat of a car typically don’t get the kind of intense air conditioning that the up-front riders do Keep those passengers comfortable with these headrest-mounted fans that will supplement the vehicle’s AC.
Powered by the car’s 12-volt charging port (aka where the cigarette lighter used to be), the fans can rotate and there’s a small, handheld controller to adjust fan speed. The set also comes with small clamps to tidy up the power cord and avoid a cluttered appearance.
Prepare For Blackouts:
When temps rise, energy needs rise with them. People crank the air conditioning at home and work, and if the power grid gets overloaded, blackouts can ensue. That’s why it’s essential to keep a reliable flashlight on hand. This “super-bright” flashlight runs on three AAA batteries and has an adjustable beam.
Amazon customers love it, too, giving it an overall 4.5-star rating out of more than 21,000 reviews.
Do you feel ready for heat wave 2022, or any heat wave thereafter?