Some simple ideas to help keep cool:

Drink as much cold water as you can. Eat smaller meals and more often. The larger and hotter the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein e.g. meats, which increase metabolic heat. Ironically spicy food that causes sweating can help to cool you down; the bathroom is generally one of the coolest rooms in the house, so frequently required visits if you make it too hot, also help keep you cool.

 Close the curtains or blinds on the sunrise and sunset sides of  the house respectively – open once the sun has gone. A desktop or portable fan only uses around 40Wh so running for 24 hours will cost you around R1.60; make sure all fans blow counter clockwise in  summer; specially ceiling fans. Point fans out the windows so they push hot air out. Fans with built in misters are also available; they use around 75w with the mister running. They typically use around 1 litre of water per hour.

Keep windows and doors open to let the breezes blow through. You can cool down a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window; breezes blowing in will quickly bring down the room’s temperature. Try to keep one room cool if you can't afford to cool the whole house; make this a south facing windowed room. Consider tinting a few windows on the east, north and west side of the house. If you can afford ceiling insulation do it yesterday; this also helps to keep the winter chill out.

Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom. Unfortunately spooning with your partner isn’t good for keeping cool.

A small misting system on the patio can help - they actually use little water. A two minute cold shower with a low flow shower head will only use 12 litres of water; put a bucket in the shower and use to flush toilet, water pots or garden. Go visit a friend or a mall that have air conditioners; bottle stores always have nice cool walk in fridges. Use your hot water bottle as a cooler brick in summer; put water in but remember to leave a little space in the bottle as water expands when frozen.

Wet a t-shirt and ring out then wear till dry, repeat. Wear lighter colours and loose fitting clothes – there is a reason Arabs wear loose fitting white robes; cotton is preferable although some modern sports gear is very good at keeping you cool. Being Naked during a heat wave is controversial. Some people believe it helps keep them cool, while others claim going au natural means sweat stays on the body instead of being wicked away by fabric. We’re going to go with personal preference on this one. Put some cold water in a misting spray bottle and wet your face and body.

Get rid of halogen or incandescent lighting; they generate heat.

Swim in the sea and yes, white wine met eish or a lekker cold beer will also help.

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