Worried about a potential heat wave? Not anymore. Take advantage of these 50 great ways to stay cool whether you're in the shade or working outdoors and be sure to share them with anyone working outdoors or anyone with pets...
*We've also included a few summer safety tips below and a section in the end on using a VPN for the free wifi you get at hotels, airport and coffee houses.
Note: My mom said a lot in the prophetic about this summer, the coronavirus and safety concerns. Sharing it here at the end of the article...
Barbecue Brush Bristle Safety: You might not know it, but you should throw out your bristle brush for cleaning your grill as they can break off and get into your food and inflict severe mouth pain.
Firework Caution: This ABC News clip discusses the dangers of fireworks. Note: It describes amputations from fireworks and shows amputations and or burns.
Grill Safety: Before you light that propane grill, watch this important video so you can avoid a sudden burst of fire.
Pool Summer Safety with Kids: This 2-year-old climbed a pool gate in record time. Please be careful with kids and how they can access pools.
Swimming Summer Safety: Puddle jumpers are popular devices parents use to let their toddlers play in the water. But, here's why small children should never be left unattended.
Think it's okay to leave kids unattended if they're wearing puddle jumpers? Read one grieving mom's cautious message.
From Parents Preventing Children Drowning's site, ""Toddlers do not have the cognitive capabilities to understand that they need the device to float in the pool. Thus, the problem occurs when the child is not wearing the puddle jumper. The child is now conditioned to believe that not only can they can swim alone in the pool, but they are supposed to do so in an upright position. Both of these are very dangerous. Most toddler drownings occur during a non-swim time when the child is in the care of one or both parents."
Pool Summer Safety: A few tips on ways help protect small children especially if you are not around your pool.
Pool Summer Safety #2: This 1-minute video has a few very important safety tips about your pool gates and drain checks.
Rip Currents: *The last 10-seconds show a great visual for how a rip current looks and how to swim away from one.
1. Stay home in the AC. If you can, stay indoors. This can keep you cool and with the AC set on about 78-degrees, it can help to keep electric bills down.
2. Run the AC in the room you are in. Instead of trying to cool the whole house, if you're working with window units, stay in one room that you can cool down and bring your pets in with you.
3. Dress lightly. Linen is light and the less you wear indoors, the cooler you will feel. Take off those wool socks, too.
4. Remove your down comforter. A sheet is great for summer sleeping. If you have the AC on, keep a light blanket on your bed.
5. Make a drink and load the ice cubes in it. Have ice coffee or iced tea and keep the ice tray full.
6. Take a cool bath. Your bath tub can also serve as a mini pool especially on a hot day!
7. Close the drapes. The sun light can raise the temperature in your home. Even if you have the windows open, leave the drapes closed to keep the sun out.
8. Open the windows on cooler days. You can get a cool breeze with the windows open if it's not a scorcher. Worried about Zika? Install screens or buy netting that you can drape over the windows.
9. Turn on the fan. An oscillating fan is great on a hot day - two are even better.
10. Turn the lights off. If you're cranking up the AC, minimize power loads by turning other appliances off during the day. It will likely be cooler at night and you can turn the AC down.
11. Find a spot in the shade and stay cool with an iced drink. Try the beach, a public pool, a park with sprinklers or a lake front area. In urban areas, the city may open fire hydrants as the water can be a quick relief for kids.
12. Buy a child's wading pool and fill it up. Soak your toes and stay cool in the shade. Drain before you finish and never leave it unattended.
13. Turn the sprinklers on so you can cool off and get a good soaking. Pets will love this, too.
14. Soak washcloths or hand towels in water and put in the freezer, then apply them to your neck. The chill is very refreshing. If you're working outdoors, pack a bunch of these in a cooler with ice. As the ice melts, you'll still feel cool from the cold fabric.
15. Pack a cooler - with ice and water. The fruit drinks are great, but the water is really what you need so load it up.
16. Pack a cooler with popsicles and a few frozen drinks. This is great for the beach. Take out a drink and it will thaw out right away. You'll still have other drinks in the cooler while you enjoy the first one.
17. Wear a hat. A hat can help to keep the sun's heat off your head.
18. Apply SPF. Depending on how long you are outdoors, you may need to increase your SPF. Don't stay in the heat if you see signs of sun burn.
19. Find shade. A shady umbrella can cool you down quickly, even on a hot beach. You can rent a beach umbrella or bring one of your own and tie it down to a lawn chair.
20. Park in the shade. No one likes a hot car. Try finding a shady spot to park in.
21. Take pets on a drive with the windows down. Pets need AC, too. If you don't have an air conditioner, make sure to give them ample air and keep their leash on so they can't jump out of a moving vehicle.
22. Put water in a bucket for dogs to play in outdoors and put it in the shade. Dogs love water and it doesn't have to be a lot. Just make sure they stay hydrated and have ample shade.
23. Make popsicles for your dogs - not ice cubes which can get lodged in their throats because they will quickly swallow them. Just take the popsicle stick and hold it for your dog.
24. Make a frozen bowl of water and let your dog have it outdoors. As it thaws out they get the cold water and you don't have to worry about a mess inside.
25. Let cats stay indoors and turn a fan on. You can leave water out. As long as the air is on, cats will find a cool spot.
26. Have a neighbor check on pets. Never go away and trust that there won't be a power outage if you have pets at home. Let a neighbor know and they can contact you if anything happens. If there's a power outage, the temperature can quickly rise.
27. Keep pets cool by keeping them out of hot cars. Vehicles can quickly reach over 140-degrees. Leave pets at home in the air conditioning.
28. Walk pets early or late, but never in the middle of the day. Sidewalks can get hot quickly and burn the pads of a dog's feet.
29. Put small ice cubes in your pet's water. It can keep them cool and they will enjoy the cold treat.
30. Give pets a bath or a splash. Dogs love cool water - cat's not so much.
31. Wear your lightest layers to work and you can always change when you get there.
32. For women, wear a light sun dress, but bring a heavy sweater for the air conditioning at the office. For men, wear a polo shirt or t-shirt in the summer to the office. You can always change once you're indoors.
32. Ask about changing your work schedule. Your office may allow you to work a longer day if you come in early and stay late. That way you don't have to leave in the middle of the day when it 's the hottest.
33. If you have to go to a meeting outdoors or an interview, never wear a suit jacket to/from the appointment. You can put it on when you arrive and after you've cooled down. Sweated a little too much? You can always go to a McDonald's or Starbucks and change - after you've bought an icy cold drink so you can quickly cool down.
34. Get an icy drink if you have to commute. Leave the house with ice and a few napkins and prepare to do the same when you leave work. You can always dump it out if you don't need it and the napkins can help if you're sweating or if your drink is sweating.
35. Sweat a lot? Bring a change of clothing. No one wants a summer cold from sitting in the office with the AC cranked up while you're soaked from a sweaty commute.
36. Bring deodorant, powder and a wash cloth with you or cleansing wipes. This is a great way to cool down fast.
37. For women, go light on make-up on hot days as you may wipe your face down a lot. You can always freshen up when you get back in the AC. You may also need to bring a small hair dryer for damp clothes and wet hair.
38. Take a portable fan. Keep in mind it will blow hot air.
39. Take a neck fan. These are usually battery operated and can send a little cool air your way.
40. Take a large bottle of ice water. You can drink it if you're hot and you can also hold it against your wrists, your neck and the back of your head.
41. Be sure to check on seniors and arrange for them to get to a cooling center if they don't have air conditioning.
42. Make sure seniors have a window air conditioning for the hottest days if they don't already have central air.
43. Driving long distances? Make sure to have your radiator checked and buy a little extra cooling fluid. Be sure to carry a gallon jug of water if you ever need it and store it in the trunk.
44. Driving with no AC? Get a portable fan that you can plug into the cigarette lighter. You can also buy cooling cloths. While people think they can cool down when they're driving fast, what if you are in bumper to bumper traffic?
45. Pack a small cooler - even for short trips. It can help to have something cold. Freeze water, fruit, protein bars, etc.
46. Ask your mail carriers and delivery people if they would like a cold soda, water or juice. They may just want ice chips or paper towels to cool down.
47. Take breaks. If you are outdoors for lengthy periods, take frequent breaks.
48. Know when to stop. If you feel light-headed or faint, sit down and alert someone near you. Let them know if you have blood pressure issues, diabetes or if you haven't eaten.
49. If you see someone who is feeling faint, check on them. They may need 911.
50. Lastly, be careful with the heat and keep an eye on the forecast...and always remember to thank God for the heat and the cool days, too. Remember, winter is on it's way!
Using a VPN with public wifi
As a side note, when you travel you might want to use the airport wifi or the free wifi at your hotel or a coffee shop. However, just because these are offered for free by a reputable organization doesn't mean they are safe. These are unsecured wifi networks, meaning ANYONE can see your information online.
To protect yourself when you travel, sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) service. VPNs are offered with most antivirus packages and they might give you up to 200MB of free VPN service. Basically you would turn on your antivirus and select 'VPN' service and 'connect'.
When you get online at the hotel or in the airport wait until your antivirus provider says that your connection is now 'secure'. This encrypts/scrambles all the data you send so it's not viewable to hackers. Kind of like praying in tongues, right?
Read more about VPNs online and if your antivirus provider doesn't offer one, sign up for a reputable VPN with companies like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. You can still access the sites you want but if a site says, "Not eligible in your country" change the VPN settign from 'automatic' to the U.S. It will pick up secure servers throughout the US.
Plans might vary from $3 to $5 a month so this is a bargain especially if you're traveling. NEVER use FREE VPNs you find online as they might sell your data. Any questions or if we can help further, let us know with the comment form at the end.