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Don't have air conditioning? Here's how to stay cool during intense heat

Putting your socks in the fridge to have them cool for sleeping at night is one idea.

If you live in Metro Vancouver you are likely getting ready for the incoming heat spell set to arrive as early as Sunday.

And you, like many living in the region, likely don’t have air conditioning. 

In comes the experts — and social media — with some tips to stay cool.

Dr. David McVea, public health physician with Environmental Health Services at the BCCDC, says there are things people can do before the heat arrives and also during. 

Buy some support and keep an eye out 

If you’ve held off this long, the time is now. 

If you can afford it, head to the store and get an air conditioning unit or a fan. 

"Monitor the forecast, and keep aware of what is happening. Check up on the weather forecast and your health authority,” says McVea. 

Come up with a 'cool' plan

Make sure you and your friends, family and neighbours have a plan in place to stay cool.

"Think about people in your life that might be susceptible to these heat warnings, those are people who are older, who have chronic conditions, people that live alone, check in on them and make sure they’re doing OK and that they have a plan also,” he says. 

You will want to find a local building to stay cool. McVea suggests malls or libraries if things get too hot. 

Other cooling tips to consider

  1. Open your windows at night and set up a fan to bring in cool air
  2. Move your bed to a shaded part or lower level that is cooler
  3. Mist your bedding or clothing before sleeping
  4. Take an ice bath or cold shower
  5. Freeze a water bottle or a water bag
  6. Keep your blinds down and close your windows during the day
  7. Set up ice cubes in front of the fan 
  8. Reduce bedding, use light sheets instead
  9. Drink lots of water during the day and stay hydrated
  10. Put socks in the fridge and wear them at night 

McVea says people don't need to focus on particular body parts to stay cool and that getting creative can be very helpful. 

He adds British Columbians should check in with people who are at risk during the nighttime. 

"We've also learned that heat in people’s homes, especially overnight, can be quite risky and that can carry a health risk also,” he says.

"We don’t always think of that, we think of the hottest part of the day being mid-day outside in the sun but your home heats up and it can store a lot of that heat through the day, and when you’re not expecting it overnight, you can really feel the effects of that heat.”

For more information about preparing for the heat visit the BCCDC's website