Friday, August 6, 2010

Comforts of Dog Days


Well, folks, it is the dog days of summer around here! Hot, humid, sticky, take your breath away weather. Comfort is hard to find. You will find yourself sweating in the coolest air conditioning and even the water in swimming pools is too warm to be refreshing. Could this be the hottest summer on record in your area? It is very possible.

The term “dog days” comes from the early Roman association of hot, sticky weather and the appearance in the sky of Sirius, the “dog star”. The “dog star” is the brightest star in the sky and is in the Canis Major constellation, which means large dog. In the northern hemisphere, Sirius rises and sets with the sun from about July 3rd to august 11th. It actually has nothing to do with heat and just coincides with heat and humidity in most regions.

Need comfort? Here are ten ways to seek comfort for those hot, sticky, boring days of summer:

1. Dress in light colored, lightweight clothing. One of the hottest places in the world is in the desert of El Azizia in Libya. The people wear loose linen clothes. Wear the least amount of clothing you can and choose loose, light clothing that breathes. I can vouch for cotton. I started wearing only cotton when I was going through menopause and it helps. There is also specially designed clothing for hot weather wear available developed by Nike and Adidas and other companies.

2. Drink, drink, and drink some more. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are dehydrating. Drink water, lemonade, fruit punches, and decaffeinated ice tea and use lots of ice.

3. Eat light refreshing foods that are easy to digest and have a high water content: soups, salads, sandwiches, fruit, chicken, cold cuts, and cheese. Eat small meals and avoid salt.

4. Enjoy some ice cream, popsicles, etc. Make a root beer float or smoothie. A cool treat is very refreshing.

5. Visit a water park or swim in a pool. Getting wet cools your body temperature even if the water temperature is not as cold as you would like. It is the evaporation of the water off your body that cools you down. Take a swim or a lukewarm shower. Apply cool water compresses to your wrists or neck.

6. Go to a movie. Movie theatres are usually cool and dark and are a very entertaining way to while away a hot summer afternoon or evening.

7. Do your chores early in the morning or evening when it is not so hot outside. Save yard work until a cooler day. Use the microwave oven or crock pot for cooking.

8. Anticipate fall. Read up on the new fall shows on tvguide.com. Just thinking that the cool, crisp, fall weather is just around the corner followed by a possible cold and dreary winter can actually bring relief for summer misery.

9. Go shopping and enjoy cool air conditioning while preparing for back to school and fall activities. Looking at the fall decorations at craft stores and the fall clothes in the department stores can also remind you of the beautiful, cool, fall weather to come.
10. Hot summer days are an encouragement to slow down and relax. Read a book. Take a nap. Go to an outdoor concert or picnic. Have your morning coffee outside. Take an early morning or evening bike ride around the neighborhood. Breathe. Enjoy. Savor the last, shrinking days of summer.

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