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Summer is here and as the temperature rises it brings it with some fun, more time spent outdoors, time off work and six weeks of glorious school holidays for many.

Dogs, like people can suffer in the hot weather; following a few simple rules can help keep your dog a lot happier as the temperatures soar.

Understanding how your dog cools down and planning ahead can help stop dangerous situations from escalating and avoid potential disasters.

Every year dogs tragically die in hot vehicles or end up in the vets with sunburn or heatstroke. Enjoy the hot weather and have a great time but please don’t let your dog down this summer.

How Dogs Regulate Their Body Temperature:

Dogs are endothermic; regardless of changes in environmental temperatures, they need to maintain and regulate their own body temperature within a set and safe range. The average healthy dog’s body temperature is 101.5 ºF / 38.6 ºC.

When your dog’s body temperature increases, heat is lost from increased blood flowing at the skin surface. As a dog breathes in, air travels through the nasal passage and is cooled before it reaches the lungs (less so in short nosed dogs).

As the environment becomes warmer and/or more humid a dog will regulate body temperate and cool down using the respiratory system – mainly by panting, unlike us humans who sweat when we’re hot, dogs do not use sweating through their skin as their cooling mechanism.

A Panting Dog Is A Hot Dog: When your dog becomes hot the brain will send signals to different parts of the dog’s body. Your dog’s heart and lungs will work harder as your dog breathes in and out quicker and pants to reduce body temperature via the process of evaporation.

As a dog is panting, the mouth is open and the tongue is hanging out – breathing air in through the nose and out through the mouth, air passes over the tongue, saliva and moisture on the tongue evaporates, the blood in the tongue is cooled and circulated around the body.

Owners of Brachycephalic Dogs:

Short nosed/push in face/flat face/snub nose dogs are technically known as ‘Brachycephalic’ dogs and include breeds such as the British Bulldog, Boxer, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug as well as crossbreeds. These dogs need special care in hot weather as they can overheat quickly and this can be fatal.

Brachycephalic dogs have short noses so air being breathed in doesn’t cool so well before it reaches the lungs. They also rely on panting but have to work a lot harder at it as they are not, by design, very efficient. Less air is passing in due to shorter muzzle length and out due to the flat shape of their heads and these types of dogs can quickly become over heated and in trouble.

When a brachycephalic dog is too hot and panting, a foamy phlegm can be produced in the throat making it harder to breath, airways can become inflamed and swollen leading to further difficulties breathing and distress.

If you are the owner of a brachycephalic dog you will need to be extra careful in hot and humid weather and work to help prevent your dog from overheating.

Dogs DIE In Hot Vehicles:

Cars and other vehicles quickly become ovens in warm weather and kill dogs, end of story.

Some people leave their dog in a car whilst they just ‘pop into a shop’ or think it’s alright as it’s cloudy out – this is a big mistake to make and one which could result in the death of your dog.

Leaving water down in a vehicle or the window open is not going to stop your dog from overheating as dogs regulate their body temperature in a different way to us.

Many dogs still tragically suffer heatstroke or DIE in hot cars every year.

Please never leave a dog in a vehicle on a warm day

or risk killing your dog in a most horrendous way.

Travelling:

If you’re going to be making a road journey, first of all – do you really need to take your dog along?

If so, do you have a good working air conditioning system inside your vehicle? If not, or if your air con broke down, how are you going to keep your dog cool during the journey?

If it’s possible, travelling during the cooler parts of the day is sensible and a lot safer. Much better to travel early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. It’s horrible to be stuck in a traffic jam with a dog on a hot day, e.g. a motorway hold up could last for several hours, so if you’re caught in it, with no air con, how are you going to stop your dog from over heating? Much better to plan ahead and avoid these stressful situations in the first place.

If you have air con – cool the vehicle down before you get in it. Always take plenty of water and a bowl, take frequent breaks and park in the shade, during the breaks leave open windows and doors to help reduce the humidity inside the vehicle and keep your dog out of the sun.

Think ahead and organise some appropriate shade for the windows to help screen out some of the sunlight during the journey – a dog sat in the back of a car with the full sun coming in through the windows can quickly overheat whilst you are driving, this can be a very dangerous position for a dog to be in.

Be careful that your dog can’t jump out of an open vehicle window and don’t let him stick his head out as you’re driving – this is very dangerous, for example a small stone could take his eye out, the side mirror of a passing car could hit his head.

Plan ahead to where you are going with your dog – for example if you have planned a family day out during the summer, is your dog allowed access to where you are going? If you are going out, will there be enough shade and water for your dog at all times when you get there?

Shade & Ventilation:

We all spend more time in our gardens and outside during the summer months and it’s easy for your dog to overheat in no time at all. Your dog will need plenty of shade if outside on a warm day.

Remember that the sun moves round throughout the day, so an area can be shaded and then exposed, check out that your dog has constant access to a well shaded area at all times of the day. Shaded areas also need to be well ventilated – with a good circulation of fresh air.

Some dogs will lie out in the sun, if your dog is a sunbather, you will need to prevent this as dogs quickly overheat and can also be burnt by the sun.

Dogs are far better suited to staying indoors when it’s very hot out, in a ventilated cool area.

Drawn blinds/curtains etc can help keep a room cooler by blocking out the powerful sun’s rays.

An electric fan safely positioned can also help circulate air around; place a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes in it below the fan, this will circulate cooler air around the room.

Lying on a tiled or lino floor covering can also be cooler for your dog.

Conservatories or rooms with a lot of glass can heat up very quickly as the sun moves around during the day, so keep this in mind.

If you are leaving windows/doors open to allow air to circulate more freely do consider that it is safe to do so, for example, that your dog cannot escape through a door, jump or fall out of an open window.

Water – the Life Saver:

Dogs need a constant supply of fresh, cool (not baked in the sun hot) drinking water.

Bowls can get knocked over or played with and spilt. Before you know it your dog is dehydrating and in distress, so make sure there is plenty of water down at all times, both indoors and outside. Don’t force your dog to drink; it will drink when it wants to.

Paddling/shallow pools can help a dog to cool down and many dogs enjoy access to one. Don’t leave a dog with access to a pool unsupervised and make sure the dog can get out of the pool easily.

Rivers, canals and ponds etc can be very attractive to some, but not all, dogs who love to swim, they can also cause drowning and disease so do be careful and supervise your dog at all times when out.

Exercising – Mad dogs and Englishmen – Go out in the midday sun:

Many dogs will still run and play in the sun if allowed to – many just don’t know when to stop, but that’s your job. A dog can suffer from heatstroke due to physical activity on a warm, hot or humid day-this doesn’t always have to be in the mid summer season.

Puppies get can get very excited and play regardless of the heat, some dogs, say a Staffordshire Bull Terrier having a great time with a ball, will keep enthusiastically playing until they become exhausted. As a dog owner it is up to you to supervise and limit physical activity in hot and humid conditions – your dog will thank you for it.

It makes sense to avoid the hottest parts of the day (10am-4pm) and exercise your dog early mornings and later in the evenings when it’s naturally cooler. Dogs don’t need to go walks in the midday sun, this really is madness and every year leaves a lot of dogs gasping to breathe and in some cases down at the vets.

Many people want to get and about during the summer, enjoying long walks, cycling, jogging, time off work, it’s nice for us, but often you will see someone walking down the road in the heat of the day with a dog alongside panting away and struggling to keep up. You see, we might find it enjoyable (some of us) but your dog really shouldn’t be out as Noel Coward said; “Mad dogs and Englishmen…”. This is very true and experienced dog owners know to protect their dogs during the hottest parts of the day.

If you do need to take your dog out during the warmer parts of the day, for example you have no garden and your dog must get out to toilet, try to walk in shaded areas avoiding open spaces and hot pavements as much as possible and take water with you.

Coat types and condition:

Black dogs will absorb more heat from the sun. Long haired dogs and dogs with double coats need to be kept well groomed to maintain the coat free of tangles and remove any dead undercoat; this helps the air to circulate which allows the skin to breathe and helps your dog keep cooler.

Some owners like to shave their heavy coated dog’s abdomen and groin as this helps air to flow and disperses heat, dogs enjoy stretching out flat on a cool surface too. 

Long coated dogs, e.g. Shih Tzu’s can be trimmed back to help make them more comfortable-speak to a professional groomer about this.

Dogs don’t need to have their hair completely shaved off during the warmer weather as this will expose the skin underneath to the sun and some coat covering helps to provide protection.

The area around your dog’s bottom needs to be kept especially clean during the summer as flies can be attracted here if faeces has been lodged in the coat.

Older Dogs & Overweight Dogs:

Older dogs and dogs which are overweight need extra care in the hot weather as they can overheat a lot quicker and may be less tolerant to the heat and less able to regulate their body temperature.

Be extra vigilant and provide a shady, quiet resting space which is well ventilated with access to fresh cool water.

Dogs with weakened heart and lung function will also need extra help to stay cool in hot weather. If you’re at all concerned have a chat with your vet.

Muzzled Dogs:

Some dogs wear a muzzle when they go out as their owner has decided this is a responsible option for different reasons. Some dogs have to wear a muzzle at all times in a public place due the requirements of a control order or due to legislation.

It may be the case that you as the person responsible for a dog, cannot remove a muzzle to enable a dog to drink or pant easier without committing a criminal offence, if this is the situation, you will need to take extra precautions particularly in hot weather to safeguard the welfare of your dog.

Dogs registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs also have to be muzzled and leashed when travelling inside a vehicle. It can quickly become hot and humid inside a vehicle on a warm day, owners will need to take precautions and be extra careful when transporting a registered dog, as legally they are not allowed to remove the muzzle whilst the vehicle is itself in a public place (eg, on the road).

A muzzle which is of a design (e.g. basket type) that does not prevent your dog from opening its mouth to pant and drink is going to be very important. If a dog is unable to open its mouth to drink water and pant it cannot cool itself down – on a warm day, this could quickly lead to a distressed dog, heatstroke and a veterinary emergency.

Advice on safely muzzling your dog here.

Tarmac & Pavements:

Tarmac surfaces and pavements get hot! We don’t notice with our footwear on, but our dogs do and paws can get burnt.

Walking surfaces can also take a while to cool back down again so bear that in mind if you are taking your dog out in the evening.

Sunburn & Dehydration:

Like us, dogs can also suffer from sunburn. White dogs are particularly prone to sunburn due to a lack of pigmentation in their skin. For example white American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers.

The tips of the ears, bridge of the nose, round the eyes and abdomen are areas which can become burnt easily due to the thin skin and not much hair covering in these sensitive areas.

High factor waterproof sunscreen or complete sunblock can be applied, this will provide protection for vulnerable areas, but prevention is a must and keeping in the shade is a priority.

Use a cream which is fragrance free and suitable for a child as your dog may lick the cream off – especially when applied to his nose. If you’re using a spray be careful around the eyes – spray it onto your fingers first and wipe it on gently. You can now buy sunblock cream especially produced for dogs and pets.

Like us, dog can also become dehydrated due to a lack of fluid intake and loss of saliva when panting. Making sure your dog has constant access to plenty of fresh water will help prevent dehydration.

Signs of dehydration in a dog include a dry mouth, gums and nose, reduced skin elasticity, reduced capillary refill and sunken eyes.

If you suspect your dog is dehydrated offer your dog water in small amounts to prevent vomiting and seek veterinary advice immediately. Your vet will be able to advise further as sometimes dogs become dehydrated due to other causes and a severely dehydrated dog will need hydration therapy which will include not only fluids but electrolytes.

Dehydration can come on quickly and cause damage to internal organs so always seek veterinary advice.

Overheating & Heatstroke:

Dogs can quickly become too hot and reach a point of where their body temperature is too high and they are unable to cool themselves down and keep their body temperature within a SAFE margin.

Heatstroke can be caused by overexposure to sunlight (sunstroke) and hot and humid environments.

Your dog will need appropriate first aid to bring the body temperature down and immediate veterinary attention.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency, it can be fatal and it can also cause damage to internal organs.

Signs of Heatstroke in a dog include:

A raised body temperature, heavy and rapid panting, laboured breathing, weakness, wide eyes, red tongue, rapid pulse, disorientation, exhaustion, diarrhoea, vomiting and distress. A dog can also collapse and go into a coma.

A dog with a body temperature between 104 ºF to 106 ºF is suffering from moderate heatstroke; first aid and veterinary advice is needed straight away.

If the dog’s body temperature is 106 ºF or over the dog is said to have severe heatstroke; first aid and immediate veterinary attention is critical.

Heatstroke and sunstroke can damage internal organs and be fatal.

You need to act quickly and seek veterinary help as this is an emergency for your dog.

How to cool a dog down – First Aid:

The average temperature for a healthy dog is 101.5 ºF or 38.6 ºC.

A healthy dog’s temperature can vary from 100.5 °F to 102.5 °F (38 °C – 39.2 °C).

If a dog has/is overheating and it is unable to bring down its own temperature through panting it is going to need your help. A dog’s body temperature must be cooled down safely.

  • Move the dog into the shade if out in the sun, move into a well ventilated (fresh air flow) area where it is cool.
  • Offer cool water but don’t force the dog to drink
  • Soak the dog in cool water. Freezing water will cause blood vessels to constrict so use cool water not freezing cold water and wet down your dog’s body all over making sure the water isn’t just running off the coat but is soaking right through to the skin. Turning a hose on a dog may frighten him, so try to quickly soak him instead.
  • Standing a dog in a paddling pool or shallow bath of cool water will cool him down, wet him all over, soaking the back of his neck will help cool down the blood going to his brain, but if he can’t stand let him lie and soak him through whilst he lays down.
  • If you are out and limited on water, soak cold water on your dog’s belly, in his groin and round his neck, this will help cool the hot blood running through larger blood vessels. Get him out the sun and in the shade. Offer water to drink.
  • Short muzzled dogs may have a build up of foamy type phlegm in their throat-a short squirt of Jiff Lemon to the back of the throat mayl help cut through this, not nice, but if the dog can’t breathe this is an emergency.
  • If possible point an electric fan his way to aid cooling.
  • Stay calm and talk to your dog.
  • If you have access to the phone ring through to the vet immediately and seek advice on what to do next or send an adult for help.
  • Keep the dog soaked in cool water, in the shade with plenty of fresh air and check his rectal temperature every ten minutes if you can, write it down with the time taken and tell your vet.
  • Remember not to over cool your dog, you’re trying to bring his rectal temperature back down-stop cooling at 103°F (39.4°C) Check the temperature – you don’t want his body temperature dropping too low-hypothermia.
  • When travelling to the vets with a overheated dog, soak towels in cold water and lay or sit your dog on a cold towel. Cool the vehicle down first before you get in it. Allow plenty of air to circulate inside the vehicle on the way to the vets – this aids evaporation. Take cold water with you for your dog to drink.
  • If you have managed to cool down your dog, still contact your veterinary clinic for advice.

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heatwave1

Extreme heat is to arrive Sunday and stick around into the middle of next week.

High temperatures in the upper 80s to near 90 degree are forecast across the region Sunday, but with humidity in the mid- to upper-60s, the heat index — a measure of what the temperature “feels” like — could reach 92 degrees. Such warmth has prompted an “Extreme Heat Alert” for the region from The Weather Channel. (Official heat warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when the heat index reaches 100 degrees.)

It is important to remember that periods of high heat often coincide with high UV indexes. Be sure to protect yourself from the sun, and also remember to have liquids readily on hand in order to stay hydrated during periods of high heat.

When the index approaches 100 degrees it can affect outdoor activities and elevate the risk for heat-related illnesses, especially for heat sensitive persons.

Limit your exposure to heat outside if possible today and make sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.

Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 911.

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures of “near 90” degrees through Wednesday and mid- to upper-80s on Thursday.

The potentially uncomfortable conditions are of particular concern to those most prone to heat distress, including the elderly, infants and young children, people with respiratory ailments or chronic medical conditions, and those who are working or exercising outdoors.

In the case of individuals who may be homebound, it is important to encourage a buddy system where relatives, neighbors and friends check to see how the person is coping and if they need help.

Health officials note the following key points:

  • Minimize, if possible, strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun’s peak hours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Exercise during early morning hours or in the evening–when the temperatures tend to be lower.
  • Drink at least 2-4 glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
  • If possible, stay out of the sun and seek air-conditioned settings. The sun heats the inner core of your body, which may result in dehydration. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a building with air conditioning (such as libraries, malls, supermarkets, or friends homes).
  • If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor (SPF) rating of at least 15 and a hat to protect your face and head. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
  • Never leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked car or other vehicles during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes.
  • Make an effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially the elderly, infants and young children or others with special needs.
  • Make sure there is enough water and food for pets and limit their exercise during periods of extreme temperatures.

To help you recognize heat-related health issues, the state Department of Health advises of these conditions and symptoms:

  • Heat Stroke: Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke can be life threatening. Body temperature can rise and cause brain damage; death may result if the individual is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse, and shallow breathing. A cold bath or sponge can provide relief and lower body temperature.
  • Heat Exhaustion: While less dangerous than heat stroke, heat exhaustion poses health concerns and it most often occurs when people exercise too heavily or work in warm, humid places where body fluids are lost. Signals include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. If symptoms occur, move the victim out of sun, and apply cool, wet cloths.
  • Sunburn: Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. Signals include redness and pain; in severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever, and headaches can occur. Ointments can be a relief for pain in mild cases. A physician should see serious cases. To protect yourself, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (SPF) of at least 15. Always re-apply sunscreen after periods of heavy sweating or swimming.
  • Heat Cramps: Muscular pains and spasms are often caused by heavy exertion. Loss of water and salt from sweating causes cramping. Signals are abdominal and leg muscle pain. Relief can be firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massages to relieve cramping. Remember to hydrate often while exercising or working outdoors.
  • Heat Rash: Skin irritation that looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. Try to move the person to a cool place, keep the affected area dry, and have the person use talcum powder to increase comfort.

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12375622091079434292keksschaf_The_Charm_of_Oxford_with_sunset_1.svg.hi

Don’t you think the sun is bright?
I wonder where it goes at night?
Does it sleep or does it hide?
Or is the moon its other side?

Does it hide behind the hills?
Late at night as outside chills?
Do you think it needs to rest?
From all that warming it does best?

Could it even have a home?
Maybe in London or even in Rome?
Or does it just float around?
Moving slowly from town to town?

Yes, I think it must do that!
After all the earth’s not flat.
So the sun goes round and round
Spreading sunshine on the ground!

©2002 Gareth Lancaster

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AmyFace031906

where’s my sun tan oil

Over the last 20 years or so, there has been increased interest, education and products available to protect people from sunburn. News and increased knowledge about various skin cancers have helped people shift from the “healthy tan” mindset to total skin care and protection from the sun’s rays, starting at infancy.Now the sun skin care attention is turning to our pets. White animals and those that have a hair cut or naturally thin (or nonexistent) hair coats are particularly sensitive to the sun, and may suffer the same ills as humans: sunburn and skin cancers. This Quick Tip offers ideas and cautions for protecting your pet on those sunny days. The two most important tips to prevent sunburn: provide shade and sunblock.

Provide shade

      Availability of shade and fresh water should be available at all times to keep your pet comfortable and

prevent heat stoke

      . This is obvious, but for outdoor pets, if their quarters can be fully shaded (such as a kennel), risks of sun damage are greatly reduced. Consider a sun block top for outdoor housing.

Compare and shop for shadesProvide sunblock
Like humans, pets should have sunblock applied to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose the belly and groin areas that typically have sparse hair coverage and thinner skin. Cats love to sunbathe and some dogs will too, belly up. Additionally, many people get “summer cuts” for their cats and dogs to reduce matting and keep the pets comfortable in the summer heat. Sunburn is a definite possibility, and groomers should warn pet owners of this possibility.

What products are safe to use for pets? It should be remembered that dogs and especially cats are adept at licking off topical lotions, sprays and creams. These substances can be toxic for dogs and especially for cats. It was once recommended that anything safe for human babies would be OK to use on pets with supervision (let the lotion soak in before licking can occur), and that is a guideline, but with the following considerations in mind.

Using products on a species not covered by product usage guidelines is off-label usage. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to using any human products or medications on your pet.Toxicities resulting from off-label usage by pet owners was the number one pet health insurance claim in a survey by VPI. It is very important to read all instructions and directions before applying any product to your pet.

Pet sunscreen tips:

1) Use pet-safe sunscreens if possible As of this writing, only one has FDA approval, and that is Epi-Pet Sun Protector. This is great news for dogs and horses, but unfortunately is not able to be used on cats. A feline sunscreen is being worked on, however, hopefully out within a year. I spoke with Lisa, the marketing director for Epi-Pet, and she said that two of the ingredients commonly used in sunscreens break down in cats to salicylic acid, a.k.aaspirin, a known toxin for cats.

2) Feline sunscreen protection is trickier Avoid products with Octyl Salicylate, Homosalate and Ethylhexyl Salicylate (common sunscreen ingredients). Products containing Titanium Dioxide as an active ingredient are OK to use on ear tips and noses. This ingredient works by physically blocking the sun’s harmful rays, so it is not absorbed (much) by the skin. (This is in contrast to sunblocks that work to chemically block the sun’s ray.) The Epi-Pet spokeswoman said that this compound is toxic if ingested, so caution is advised.

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062110-watermelon.jpgWhen the summer temperatures start climbing, we often don’t feel especially hungry. The temperature extremes of the hot blasting outdoors and freezing air conditioned indoors sometimes takes away our appetite. Here, though, are ten good snacks for for when you feel like it’s too hot ot even eat!

1. Chilled Hard Boiled Eggs: They’re small, easy to consume and pack a punch of protein. Add a sprinkle of salt and you’re all set.

2. Smoothies: The ultimate vessel to deliver whatever nutrients you require to last you throughout the day. Although smoothie shops sell you ridiculously large portions, a small 12 ounces is enough to get some serious nutrition without leaving you with a growly stomach.

3. Frozen Grapes: There is a severe cult following for this simple snack, just toss any bunch of grapes straight in the freezer. The end result is something that requires chewing and has a pleasant tang without being a milk-based dessert or snack.

4. Cold Noodle Dishes: It might be Soba or some Buckwheat noodles, but either way you can create sauces with big flavor and deliver them in a crisp, cool manner. Check out more cold noodle dishes here.

5. Ice Cream: Although it might not offer anything nutritionally, it is still the go to snack for many that are staring high temperatures in the face. A cool bowl of almost any flavor is usually more than welcome (even if it’s only breakfast!).

6. Water: Even though you don’t eat water (though we’ve lived in some cities we swore we did), it’s a great way to cool down your insides and put off hunger for a little while longer until you’re ready to consume a real meal instead of snacking.

7. Spicy Foods: Many will tell you that a good and spicy curry (Indian or Thai) is the way to go because it makes you sweat. We’re still not 100% sure of the science behind this method, so if it works for you, awesome, if not, see number 5!

8. Jerky: Although there’s tons of fresh fruit available during the sweltering heat, you might not always want the sugar (even if natural) that comes with it. A nibble ofhomemade jerky is a great alternative, plus gives you some substance unlike some of the other options above.

9. Watermelon: Growing up, Sunday dinner in the summer was 1/4 or 1/2 of a watermelon and a spoon. We’re not sure if it was the cool melon itself that made us feel better or the eating process where we got a fare amount of it on us during the process, but either way, watermelon is slushy and juicy without busting out a blender!

10. Spring Rolls: We have to say up front that any food shaped like a burrito is a winner in our book, but when the summer sun heats up, spring rolls are an easy dish to throw together, especially if you take a few minutes to do the prep work ahead of time. Add your choice of protein and you have a complete meal without adding any heat!

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SUNMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Staying cool during a long, hot summer can be pricey. But before you turn on the A/C, read these tips on ways to keep costs down during a heatwave.

Beating the heat doesn’t have to mean cranking the A/C — air conditioning is really hard on the budget, not to mention the power grid. This summer, consider these 12 frugal tips to keep you cool in the hot weather — they’ll not only save you money, but will make your home greener too.

1. Get grilling
When it’s hot outside, using your oven or stovetop can make your house even hotter. Stop sweating in the kitchen and make use of your barbecue whenever you can. You can use the grill for everything — even pizza. 
2. Adjust your thermostat
Try not to leave the AC running when you’re not home. There are other ways to keep your house from heating up too much (see below). Also, consider saving the air conditioning for the very hottest days of summer — and use it sparingly, such as turning it off when you’re sleeping.

3. Change your filters
If you have central air, make sure you give your system a once-over and change the filters so that it runs more efficiently and pumps clean air through your home.

4. Keep the curtains closed
Keep your windows curtained or shuttered during the heat of the day — that will also help the air stay cooler when the sunshine is at its peak.

5. Use fans
Ceiling fans and portable fans will keep the air circulating through your home so that it stays cooler and fresher.

6. Cover the vents
If you are running AC, make sure you cover the vents in rooms you don’t use to push the cold air where you want it — especially at night. Covering the downstairs vents can make your upper floors cooler when you’re sleeping.

7. Camp out
Hot nights can be the hardest part of summer, so why not get out of your upstairs bedroom and sleep somewhere cooler? Set up camp in the backyard or in the basement — if you have young kids, you can also make it fun by pitching a tent and making it like a camping trip.

8. Use cold showers
Bring down your body temperature before bed by taking a cold shower or bath. It will help make you more comfortable and help you get to sleep even on the hottest nights. To get super cool before bed, stand in front of a fan to dry off instead of using a towel — that gives your body an extra chill that will keep you cooler for longer.

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9. Peg out
Your dryer makes your home even hotter, so use your clothesline instead. Pegging out can also help cut your electricity bill. And you get an added bonus — clothes dried outside smell so much better.

10. Get a pool (kiddie that is)
Every kid on my block had a Mr. Turtle Pool when I was growing up — kid-sized pools are a great way for your little ones to keep cool. Adults and pets can also cool their heels in the cold water when they need it. If your kids are too small to play safely in a kiddie pool, then turn on the sprinkler to cool them down.

11. Have lots of cold ones…
Keep yourself well hydrated with cold, icy beverages, preferably non-alcoholic — while a cold beer or two goes down smoothly on a hot day, the alcohol can leave you dehydrated and feeling even worse.

12. Make homemade popsicles with the kids
Packaged popsicles and ice creams are expensive — enlist your kids in helping you make popsicles of their own. You can also make your own cones and drumsticks — they taste better than the ones you buy at the store.

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sunshine

A hint of sunshine and the kids are off like a shot, but catch them with the sun-cream to keep that sensitive skin safe from UV damage.

Why sunscreen matters

One hint of sunshine and we’ll bet your kids are stripped off and gone, leaving you waving a sun-cream bottle and bleating for them to ‘come back right now!’. Sound familiar? It’s enough to make you wonder whether it’s worth the effort. It is. A child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than an adult’s, so they are at greater risk of suffering damage from exposure to UV radiation, says Melanie Anglesey.

The four hours either side of midday are the times at which you should take the greatest care in the sun. Avoid long periods of exposure to your skin between 10am and 3pm. Children should wear protective clothing, preferably with a high ultraviolet protection factor – UPF factor. The areas to keep covered are the neck, legs and arms. Opt for a wide brimmed or legionnaires hat (with UPF) and sunglasses (with an environmental protection factor – EPF) to protect the eyes.

Children’s skin needs high protection. Use sunscreen with a high SPF factor to protect exposed areas and choose hypoallergenic sun creams or those for children’s sensitive skin, as the chemicals in some sun creams can irritate children’s skin.

Remember that skin can burn even on cloudy days and prolonged exposure to the heat can lead to heat stroke, so take regular breaks in the shade and offer children plenty of water to drink.

Sun safety tips

  • Babies and infants should be kept out of the sun at all times.
  • Always put a broad-brimmed hat on children – a flap down the back gives added protection.
  • Invest in some sun-protection clothing or, at a pinch, dress them in cool, light-coloured clothes
  • Apply sunscreen half an hour before going outside to allow absorption, then reapply regularly, especially after swimming or towel-drying.
  • Apply sunscreen generously and use a minimum SPF15 on kids (lighter skins burn more easily so higher ratings required). Make sure sunscreen offers UVB and UVA protection.
  • Use a waterproof sunscreen (SPF15) for children when swimming or playing outdoors with water, and reapply regularly.
  • Use 100 per cent UV-blocking sunglasses with wrap-around protection.
  • Plan trips and garden play that avoids 11am to 3pm peak intensity.
  • Encourage children to play in the shade.

Find out more

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sunshine

  • Set good habits for the future Teaching children safe sun habits while they are young sets a good pattern for later life.
  • Remember you can burn in the UK The Great British sun is quite capable of burning your child! Take extra care at home as well as abroad.
  • Use shade Keep babies in complete shade: under trees, umbrellas, canopies or indoors. Provide shade for prams and buggies, if possible.
  • Cover them up When outdoors, protect a baby’s skin with loose-fitting clothes, and a wide-brimmed hat that shades their face, neck and ears.
  • Wear sunglasses Buy good quality, wraparound sunglasses for children, as soon as they can wear them. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive brands.
  • Find hats they like Encourage children to wear hats with brims, especially if they are not wearing sunglasses. The wider the brim, the more skin will be shaded from the sun.
  • Use sunscreen wisely Use at least a factor 15 sunscreen and choose a “broad-spectrum” brand that protects against UVA rays – the more stars the better. Apply to areas that cannot be protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands. Choose sunscreens that are formulated for children and babies’ skin. These products are less likely to contain alcohol or fragrances that might irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.
  • Apply sunscreen generously and regularly. Put some on before children go outdoors. Sunscreen can easily be washed, rubbed or sweated off – so reapply often throughout the day.
  • Don’t forget school times Remember play times and lunch breaks on summer school daystoo. Give children a hat to wear and, if they can’t apply sunscreen at school, cover their exposed skin before they go.

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