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The best way to keep cool with out an air conditioner — life hacks from India : Goats and Soda : NPR


How to STAY COOL without an air conditioner: Tips from Indian heat wave researcher Gulrez Shah Azhar. Get a swamp cooler. Nap during the hottest parts of the day. Hang damp curtains to cool the air. Hydrate with water and juice. Wear a wet scarf around your neck.
How to STAY COOL without an air conditioner: Tips from Indian heat wave researcher Gulrez Shah Azhar. Get a swamp cooler. Nap during the hottest parts of the day. Hang damp curtains to cool the air. Hydrate with water and juice. Wear a wet scarf around your neck.

In Uttar Pradesh, India, the place I grew up, temperatures can soar as excessive as 120 levels in Could and June. However only a few folks have entry to an air conditioner.

With a per capita revenue of round a $1,000 a 12 months, many individuals on this a part of the nation cannot afford to purchase an A/C unit or pay the ability payments that include utilizing one.

So how do folks preserve cool?

That is a query that persons are asking themselves because the world faces unprecedented warmth waves, together with within the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Europe, the place many don’t have air conditioners. Extreme warmth has already killed hundreds of individuals this summer season.

But folks in India and in different nations throughout the World South have lengthy found out methods to cope with the horrible warmth. And so, I would wish to share just a few recommendations on easy methods to keep cool that I’ve realized from my upbringing and elders in Uttar Pradesh. Among the recommendation is simply what you’d assume – like ingesting numerous liquids and staying out of the solar – however others may shock you.

I do know that every of those recommendations on their very own could appear trivial. However as a warmth wave researcher, I can let you know that performed collectively, they’ll actually assist the physique quiet down. The bottom line is to be conscious of the ability of warmth – and stay ready to forestall its opposed results.

And keep in mind, upon seeing any indicators of heatstroke — like fever, headache, nausea, confusion or weak point — name an ambulance ASAP and get medical assist. Use ice packs whereas ready to be handled on the hospital. Significantly, do not delay. Heatstroke may be deadly.

Listed here are just a few tried-and-tested suggestions from India on easy methods to keep cool with out an air conditioner. (Additionally: We wish to hear from you! Scroll to the top of this story to learn how to share suggestions out of your tradition on how to deal with warmth.)

Drink numerous liquids — it does not need to be water!

Volunteers distribute free chilly drinks to commuters on a scorching day in Amritsar, India, on June 29.

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There are every kind of fantastic drinks in India that individuals could make at house or choose up at a avenue market vendor. Along with water, we quench our thirst with fruity drinks like sugarcane juice, coconut water, a tangy, uncooked mango juice known as aam ka pana and an apple juice known as bel ka sharbat. We additionally like cooling, milk-based drinks like lassi, a yogurt beverage common within the summertime, and buttermilk. The bottom line is to drink loads of fluids to replenish the electrolytes misplaced in sweat and preserve your physique hydrated.

Discover a cool spot to sit back out.

Hunt down the good elements of the constructing the place you reside and make that the place the place you sleep or hang around. As a result of warmth rises, decrease flooring in a multi-story home are cooler. Verandas are shady and ethereal. Throughout the day, block out the daylight with heavy curtains. Activate any followers you’ve. And do not be afraid to maneuver the furnishings round in your quest for coolness. Again in Uttar Pradesh, we used to scoot our beds nearer to the home windows so we might catch a breeze whereas we slept.

If it turns into impossibly stuffy indoors, transfer outside and lay in a hammock. Air created from swinging helps cool the physique down. As a child, I keep in mind that mango orchards have been the most effective for hanging out, because the dense foliage there supplied most shade protection.

Use water in artistic methods.

A boy jumps into Dal Lake to chill off on a scorching summer season’s day in Srinagar, India, on July 18.

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A boy jumps into Dal Lake to chill off on a scorching summer season’s day in Srinagar, India, on July 18.

Tauseef Mustafa/AFP by way of Getty Photos

In India, we now have a lot of contraptions to handle warmth with out an air conditioner. That features khus — grass curtains hung over doorways and home windows and sprayed with water. The curtains convert the dry wind exterior right into a aromatic, cool, damp breeze because it blows into the home. And the ever-present swamp cooler. Also called an evaporative cooler, this electrical machine passes a room’s air over water-saturated pads, which cools down the air, then blows that air again into the room. These gadgets are cheaper than air conditioners and use much less vitality. You may even make one your self.

Even when you do not have khus curtains or a swamp cooler, you could find different methods to make use of water to manage your physique temperature. Take a chilly bathtub or bathe. Or take a lightweight towel, known as a gamchha in Hindi, dampen it and put on it round your neck or in your head like a shawl. This moist garb is omnipresent even now amongst males within the hinterlands and small cities.

You can too play with water. Once I was a child in India, I would have water balloon fights with neighborhood youngsters. Or we might fill a bath with water and splash it on one another within the yard.

Take a break.

Throughout the hottest elements of the day, strive to not burn vitality or exhaust your self by going out, exercising or standing exterior, as a result of the scorching daylight and scorching air will make you hotter. As an alternative, do what I did in Uttar Pradesh: chill at house or take a day siesta. If you need to work and have a versatile schedule, attempt to carry out your duties within the cooler hours of the day. Farmers in my state, for instance, schedule work within the early mornings and late evenings. And markets shut within the scorching afternoons however stay open till late within the night time.

Put on ethereal and light-colored clothes.

Select ethereal cotton materials that do not lure physique warmth, and colours like white, yellow and lightweight blue that mirror mild off the physique. Darker colours take up warmth a lot sooner, heating up our our bodies. In Uttar Pradesh, many individuals put on a light-colored kurta, a free, collarless shirt, and pajama, a light-weight drawstring trouser.

A/C is nice … till the ability goes out

In 2010, my household in Uttar Pradesh lastly bought an air conditioner. They are saying it is nice for retaining cool, and so they preserve it on all day in the summertime. However their reliance on A/C makes their willingness to tolerate warmth much more tough when the ability goes out – which occurs usually in India. In order that they return to the age-old practices that I simply shared right here to beat the warmth.

Your flip: Share suggestions out of your tradition on how to deal with warmth

Did you develop up with out air conditioner in a scorching nation? How did you cope with the warmth? Electronic mail us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the topic line “Warmth hacks” and we might characteristic your story on NPR.org. Please embrace your identify and placement. Submissions shut on Wednesday, August 10.

Gulrez Shah Azhar is a Seattle-based Aspen New Voices fellow who’s researching the well being impacts of warmth. Beforehand, he was a postdoctoral fellow on the College of Washington, a coverage researcher on the RAND Company and an assistant professor on the Indian Institute of Public Well being.

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