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Patch Picks: Five Ineffective Ways to Beat the Heat

The dog days of summer inspire some extreme behavior.

All of February’s prayers for a heat wave have caught up to us here at the end of July. Even in a city as walkable as Clayton, it’s hard to resist the urge to make a mad dash from the air-conditioned safety of your car straight into the cool interior of a building before you melt into a puddle of sweat.

Plenty of places tell you the best ways to beat the heat. This week, we’re taking potshots at some of the worst.

Cheesecloth and Water
This is a variation on evaporative cooling. If you live somewhere very dry, such as Arizona, pouring water over a porous substance then blowing air through it will actually bring the temperatures down a good 10 degrees. Here in the muggy Midwest, lining your window with cheesecloth, spritzing it with water and putting a box fan in front is a recipe for sweaty torture.

Tuck Frozen Vegetables Under Your Shirt
I’m all for recyclable options, but really? Why not get a couple of reusable gel packs instead? You can’t eat them when you’re done, but if they accidentally break inside your clothes, no one is going to report you to HR as the weird guy who has peas and corn coming out of his sleeves.

Churn Your Own Ice Cream
Eat your own ice cream? Yes. Make your own ice cream? No. You need to churn a batch of fresh ice cream for at least half an hour, usually longer. By the time you’re done, you’re hotter than you were before, super sweaty and sore in one arm. A frozen treat will only make you feel better if you get to bathe in it. Go buy some refreshing cool ice cream instead and save the churning for September.

Turn Off All the Lights
It’s true that lighbulbs generate heat. It’s true that the sun is plenty bright. But few buildings these days are designed to let the light in naturally. If you work in an overheated cube farm and they turn out the lights, your body will immediately take this for a cue that your boss has kindly decided it’s time for a well-deserved nap.

Coolware Personal Outdoor Cooling System
Yes, it’s a neckband with a fan built in. I tried one of these once when visiting an Amazon.com warehouse. The anemic motor is just loud enough to make conversation difficult and just weak enough not to create much breeze. The silver inside that rests on your neck is supposed to somehow miraculously create a cooling effect, but in my case, the combination of sweat and smooth metal made for a jolly game of trying to keep the fan in back instead of under my chin. This product screams SkyMall.

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