The Coastal Star

Health & Harmony: A few tips to keep you cool during the sweltering season

Bright, happy colors can have a cooling effect, Kathie Orrico says. ‘It's hard to feel miserable when you're smiling.’ Photo provided

By Joyce Reingold

Fans twirl on the sidelines and from ceilings, supporting the work of A-list air conditioners that chug, chug, chug 24/7. We have breathable clothing, wicking fabrics and cooling towels for our necks. There are nerdy misting water bottles and geeky wearables like Embr Wave bracelets, touted to help you feel 5 degrees cooler at the touch of a button.

We have all this and more and yet sometimes, it is still not enough — especially come September. By now, we’ve had it with the heat and the humidity.

Northern friends and family yammer on about fresh apples, the first crisp-air mornings and forecasts for optimum leaf-peeping. Here, we’re studying cones of uncertainty and wondering, in language often NSFW, when is it ever going to cool down?

Nine months into the Florida year, staying cool is a mental game. An attitude adjustment. It’s the harmony, in Health & Harmony. And it’s in that spirit that we offer these keep-your-cool ideas:

Vitamin sea

Add Jay Magee to mad dogs and Englishmen, the only two groups Noel Coward believed were foolish enough to brave the midday sun. The quasi-official “Chairman of the Beach” is found most days, from noon to 4, at Oceanfront Park with a group of semi-regulars.

“The best way to beat the heat is to sit down by the water, have a good umbrella and bring water. A nice breeze doesn’t hurt,” the Ocean Ridge resident says. “We are rarely hot at the beach, maybe once in a blue moon. There’s usually a nice sea breeze off the water and it’s pretty comfortable. I always have a couple of bottles of frozen water that I end up drinking during our stay. To be honest, the only time I usually go in the water is during my morning swim. I just don’t go in during the afternoon. Crazy, huh?”

Retail therapy

When you experience heat-induced ennui, shopping lighter and brighter may lift the spirits.

“Nothing cools you down like bright, happy colors,” says Kathie Orrico, “because it’s hard to feel miserable in the heat when you’re smiling.” She and sisters Casey and Colleen are the joy-sparkers behind the C. Orrico boutique on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. 

“Dresses are our No. 1 go-to for summer,” she says. “Put them on and you’re done, you’re chic. Bohemian off-the-shoulder is popular in tropical prints. I can’t tell you how many girls come in for that look because they think that’s what Stevie Nicks would wear, or Linda Ronstadt. If you’re timid about color, add a splash of color with hoop or beaded earrings and you’re rockin.’”

Guys are jazzing it up, too. At FSB Mens on Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach, proprietors Giovanni Marquez, his wife, Grace Marquez, and his sister, Gloria Ciongoli, offer a color palette that includes French blue, Amalfi yellow and tea green.

“How you beat the humidity in South Florida is cottons, or linens,” Giovanni says. “And now, what they’re doing with the cottons, is they might give you a 97 percent cotton and they’ll give it like a 3 percent stretch fabric. This way, the garment is going to move with you as well, and it’s nice.”

(Comfort is another cooling coping mechanism.)

Supplemental hydration

Staying hydrated is one of our most important jobs as heat-beaten Floridians. “Drink more water than you’re used to — and don’t wait until you’re thirsty,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges.

There are lots of suggested ways to calculate how much water you should drink. The best idea is to ask your doctor.

When you’re fully hydrated and looking for a recommendation for a late-summer cooler, ask a beer maker. We asked Justin Rick, head of brewing at Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach.

“People tend to enjoy refreshing beers with a lighter taste, light body, lighter color, and lower ABV during the summer,” he says, referring to alcohol by volume. “Our most popular summer beer is Passion Pit, a 4.2 percent fruit ale made with real passionfruit. It is light, drinkable, with a slightly tart, slightly fruity flavor that isn’t overpowering.”

Autumn beers drop in October, when fall seems a notch, maybe two, closer to reality.

Soul survival

Air-conditioned homes, cars, offices, malls, movie theaters … really, what are we even complaining about? September may not be the best month to spend outdoors, but it’s a great time to get outside ourselves.

Become a mentor and inspire children from underserved communities at the Milagro Center in Delray Beach. And watch them inspire you.

Sign up for a training session at the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County to learn how to help adults and children improve their reading skills. You can also volunteer to read to a preschool or kindergarten class.

Call 211 Palm Beach (or visit online) to find out more about the Sunshine Daily Telephone Reassurance program, and how you might volunteer.

Drop off water and snacks to the men and women who labor outside, rain or shine. Pay it forward. Pay it backward. (Let’s make that a thing.)

Joyce Reingold writes about health and healthy living. Send column ideas to joyce.reingold@yahoo.com.

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