5 Surprising Ways to Stay Cool Without an Air Conditioner

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by Jessie Ace |

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People outside the U.K. might not understand this column, but that’s OK. Not long ago, we had an entire week with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius (86 F) in most parts of the country. We don’t have air conditioning here in the U.K., because normally it is hot only a few days each year. 

Relentless heat, day after day, is no fun. It felt like the recent heat wave would last forever

We do love to have a good moan about the weather in the U.K., as it’s a staple of British conversation. If you ever visit, expect at least one discussion about it. The climate generally is cold, wet, and gray, so anything different and we’re like, “Woah, we can’t handle this!”

The sudden spike in heat drove us all crazy, especially people with multiple sclerosis, because many of us can’t tolerate heat, myself included. Initially, I thought it wasn’t affecting my MS this year, but man, was I wrong. Do you find heat affects your symptoms? It’s weird, right?

We all know that vitamin D, which our bodies manufacture when exposed to the sun, is good for people with MS. But the heat part of the sun — not so much. 

I found some unique ways to keep cool during the heat wave, and I believe it is my duty as a writer to pass them on for any future heat waves (or overheated houses at Christmas). Hold on to your standard “keeping cool advice.” Eating popsicles and staying in the shade can wait. These are more off-the-wall ideas. Ready? 

1. Refrigerate wet wipes

My mum introduced me to this one when we were in Portugal what feels like a million years ago. She stuck her face wipes in the fridge in a spontaneous “that might work” kinda way. It has been the thing ever since, and I’ve adopted it into my adult life. Grab your wet wipes and chuck them in fridge. You can thank me later. 

2. Have a cold foot bath

Putting your feet into a bowl of cold water doesn’t always feel good, but when it is hot outside, doing so is glorious. There are loads of fancy cooling foot sprays out there, but for me, simple is always best. 

3. Chew minty gum and drink water

OK, this one is a little weird. Have you ever brushed your teeth in the morning and then drunk water right after? I did once by accident, and strangely, it has become a staple ever since. When you’re out and about in hot weather, get a stick of gum and some water for instant cooling relief.

4. Cool down beverages super quickly

Here’s a great tip I found online a while ago. Want to cool down your beverage quickly? Wrap a wet paper towel around it and put it in your freezer. It’ll cool down in 10-15 minutes! You’re welcome. 

5. Use a wet towel as a blanket

You cannot beat a damp towel blanket when it’s hot. 

Yes, there are lots of cooling scarves and vests out there. (I like the stylish wraps from WrapMeCool.) But if you need relief right away and don’t want to wait for a scarf to be delivered, I recommend this method: Dampen a towel, wring it out, and use it as a blanket. It’s so simple, yet effective. Just make sure to wring it out a lot, or you’ll get soaked.

Test out my cheap and easy cooling ideas, and let me know in the comments below how they worked. Do you have any other tips to add to the list?


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Rhonda Maricle Danielson avatar

Rhonda Maricle Danielson

These are great suggestions. Here are three more from somone who lives-and works, through 10-15 90 F degree days every summer without air conditioning:

1) wet down an expendable baseball cap, or any other expendable hat; don said hat. DO NOT use super cold or ice water, you will give yourself a headache if you do.

2) get a set of cloth sweat and wrist bands from your local tennis pro shop; wet them down, again don't use super cold water. Sweatband on you forehead, wrist bands on your wrists. Between the evaporating water on your skin and the cool cloth cooling the blood in your temples and wrists, you shoud be a bit more comfortable.

3) the bodice cooler, or warmer. based on our anatomy and clothing choices, this works better for the ladies than the gents; it just means you boys need to get a bit more creative if you are going to be ambulatory with this. you need 1 waterproof, resealable tube about 6 inches long and roughly a couple of inches in diameter. metal/plastic cigar tubes work the best, but the tubes can be made of anything that transmits temperature. fill with cool or warm water. slip the tube into your bodice/bra between your breasts and over your breastbone. that cool tube is now resting right over your heart and all of those veins and arteries carrying all that blood to the rest of your body.

Guys, if you're not going to be walking around, a cold can/bottle/glass of something held against your breastbone works really well.

I use the bodice cooler/warmer all the time. Minnesota can get 90-100+ degrees in the summer and -30 to -40 degrees in the winter. this is the best way to cool down/warm up way that I have found that I have complete control over.


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