BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Home

7 ways to stay cool and safe during record-setting heat waves without AC

Ways to combat extreme heat if you do not have AC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat events cause mild to deadly health complications. To help people across the nation better prepare for these unhealthy conditions and prevent heat-related illnesses and death, the government has recently launched If you do not have an air conditioner, heat waves are dangerous because your body has no chance for relief

However, there are several products to help you get through days or weeks of relentless high temperatures.

Shop this article: Igloo Half-Gallon, High-Performance Sports JugHunter Fan Company Builder Deluxe Indoor Ceiling FanJisulife Portable Neck Fan

Why is heat so dangerous?

According to the Mayo Clinic, to function properly, the human body must maintain a core temperature between 97 and 99 degrees. Once the body drops below or rises above this temperature, it invites various illnesses. To maintain this functional core temperature, the weather needs to be roughly 82 degrees.

When the body’s core temperature rises, blood is diverted from vital organs and directed toward the skin to help release internal heat. Additionally, the water in your skin is excreted as sweat. To evaporate, it requires energy in the form of heat. With limited blood flowing to vital organs and a rapidly diminishing water supply, your body can quickly fall into a life-threatening crisis.

What are the symptoms of heat-related illnesses?

Both external and internal heat is a problem. Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated and wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing. Additionally, heat-related illnesses have an immediate or cumulative effect on an individual, with symptoms intensifying over several days.

The primary symptoms of heat-related illness are:

  • Heavy sweating.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Thirst.
  • Mild shock.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Weakness.
  • Unconsciousness.

Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke

It can help to keep these two heat-related illnesses clear in your mind by remembering that exhaustion is something that builds up over time, while a stroke is something that strikes suddenly with a substantial impact.

Heat exhaustion

With heat exhaustion, the body becomes fatigued from trying to maintain its core temperature. An individual suffering from heat exhaustion requires help to maintain their body heat. This is accomplished by moving them to a cooler area and replenishing fluids.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke happens when the body has lost the battle and your core temperature rises. This can happen suddenly or be the result of prolonged heat exhaustion. It is a life-threatening illness, so immediate medical attention is required. While waiting for help to arrive, get the person out of direct sunlight and try to cool them down with whatever means is available.

What are some strategies you can employ to stay cool during an extreme heat wave?

The key factors to staying safe during extreme heat are:

  • Be aware of the temperature and humidity: Be sure to check the weather in your area before departing.
  • Avoid going outdoors, especially for prolonged periods: If possible, don’t stay outside in extreme heat to prevent heat-related illnesses. 
  • Remove yourself from dangerous environments, such as a car interior: Cars quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures and objects within a car get hot, which may cause burns. 
  • Wear lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking clothing: Light clothes reflect heat, thus keeping you cooler. 
  • Avoid strenuous activities: Engaging in intense physical activity in the heat makes the body release fluids more quickly, potentially leading to heat stress when sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly enough to cool the body.
  • Stay hydrated: Hydrating with water helps keep your body at a normal temperature.
  • Wear sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet A and B rays by using sunscreen.

Products that help you stay cool without AC

Igloo Half-Gallon, High-Performance Sports Jug

Trying to stay cool without drinking water is like running an air conditioner without refrigerant. This half-gallon, insulated jug has a flip cap that snaps closed to prevent spills and a wide mouth that allows chugging. 

Sold by Amazon

Yeti Rambler 30-Ounce Tumbler

The double-wall structure of this stainless steel tumbler ensures your beverage will stay cold. It has an innovative magnetic seal that keeps the lid closed. The tumbler is bisphenol A-free, features a no-sweat design and is dishwasher-safe. 

Sold by Amazon

Eclipse Fresno Modern Blackout Curtains

The easiest way to stay cool is not to let your home or apartment get hot in the first place. This blackout curtain can keep up to 99% of home-warming sunlight out of your living space, providing an impressive barrier against summer heat. 

Sold by Amazon


Air King Whole House Window Fan

When used properly, a window fan is extremely effective at expelling household heat or bringing in cooling air. This model has three speeds, a front-mounted switch and a powder-coated steel front grill. 

Sold by Amazon

Hunter Fan Company Builder Deluxe Indoor Ceiling Fan

Circulating air evens out the overall temperature of a room. More importantly, when a breeze crosses the body, it helps with evaporation and lets you to cool down with greater efficiency. This whisper-quiet model is energy efficient and has a long-lasting, dimmable LED light. 

Sold by Amazon

Bedsure Cooling Sheets

One of the most uncomfortable times during a heat wave is the night. Your body needs a bedsheet that allows for air exchange so you stay cool. This luxuriously soft bamboo option helps regulate your body temperature, giving you a more pleasant night’s sleep, even without AC. 

Sold by Amazon

Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow

Your pillow is another bedtime necessity that causes more harm than good as it traps heat. This ultrasoft, gel-infused memory foam pillow helps diffuse body heat for a more comfortable sleeping experience. 

Sold by Amazon

HomeLabs Countertop Ice Maker Machine

Ice can be used in drinks and on your body, cooling you from the inside and the outside. This countertop machine can make up to 26 pounds of refreshing coolness daily. It features a compact design, so it is suitable for a kitchen with limited space. 

Sold by Amazon

TriPole Mini Handheld Fan

This portable fan keeps you cool as you move throughout your home. It comes in several colors and has two adjustable wind speeds. It has a rechargeable battery requiring a USB port to charge. It has an anti-slip design that makes it comfortable to hold. 

Sold by Amazon

Jisulife Portable Neck Fan

Get hands-free cool air with a portable neck fan. This fan has 78 air outlets around the neck. It has a battery lasting up to 16 hours. It also has a quiet operation and is made of eco-friendly plastic and silicone.

Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

Share this post: