Most people look forward to summer for various reasons. However, the difference between a nice summer day and a dangerously hot one can come down to just a few degrees. When that dangerously hot weather lasts for multiple days, you have a heatwave on your hands. Heatwaves are not only uncomfortable; it is not an exaggeration to say that they can be deadly, particularly to young children and the elderly.

That is why we’ve come up with a few free or inexpensive ways to beat the heat, even if you don’t have an air conditioning unit.

Stay Hydrated

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Heat is hard on the body. First, it causes you to sweat more than you would normally, meaning you’ll lose water much more quickly. Your body needs this water to function properly. On top of that, your body is also designed to function optimally at a specific temperature range. Excessive heat can make your temperature rise to dangerous levels, leading to heatstroke. Heatstroke can present as nausea, headache or an accelerated heart rate. It can even lead to alterations in your mental state or behavior.

When we say to stay hydrated, we mean with water. While juices and sodas will technically work in a pinch, water or electrolyte-rich sports drinks are always going to be your best bet.

Regulate Your Temperature

Speaking of water, wetting towels or raps and placing them on your head is another great way to make sure you don’t overheat. There are actually areas that are more effective than others for this process. Some of them are obvious, some might surprise you. Of course, your head and neck are important spots, but your feet, inner thighs, knees, wrists, and elbows are all effective zones for keeping you cool.

These spots are called pulse points and cooling them will cool your blood. Since your blood circulates throughout your body, it works to effectively cool the rest of you as well.

Watch What You Put in Your Body

Large meals, especially those built around protein, might make you feel good while you’re eating them, but your body has to work overtime to break them down. This naturally heats your body. It’s a great side effect in the winter, but when it’s already hot, it exacerbates the problem. Try lighter fare.

You’ll want to skip alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine as well. Booze wreaks havoc on your system both dehydrating you and causing your heartbeat to rise, raising your temperature. Caffeine is not quite as bad, but it is a diuretic and will cause you to expel a lot of water as well.

Go Places with AC

The worst hours to be in the heat are from 10 am to 4 pm, that is when the sun is at its most radiant. If you can find ways to fill those hours in a place that is air conditioned, you’ve spared yourself a lot of grief.  Catch a matinee, go to a library, go to a museum, go to a mall. There are tons of free and inexpensive places you can find relief from the worst of a hot day.

Maximize Air Circulation

You’ll want to try to move the air around your house to keep it from getting stale and heating more than it already is. The best tool for this is fans. You want to try to push the hot air out during the day, and pull the cooler air in at night. That means, during the day, keep your windows and blinds closed. Open them back when the sun goes down.

Honestly, nothing is going to be good old AC, but if it is not available to you, these tricks will at the very least keep you from getting sick. Stay safe out there!