Sizzling Middle East! 16 cool ways to ride the summer heat wave

Published August 4th, 2015 - 13:48 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)

There’s not much new to say about the Middle East’s scorching summertime heat. Typical daytime temperatures hover at 40 °C, but a cloudless sky and wind shift can bump them anywhere between 43-48°C. An extreme heat wave has the region broiling, reaching record-high temps that caused the Iraqi government to call for a mandatory, four-day national holiday. How hot is THAT? We’ve heard of being snowed in, now here’s being boiled in!

Iraq’s hotspot was Kanaqin, reporting a July 30 high of 52°C. Baghdad trailed at 51°C and Bahrain phoned in 53°C, which Kuwait bested at 55°C. Dubai highs stayed below 45°C, but added near 100 percent humidity. Amman, Jordan averaged a balmy 39°C, but raised the stakes by blowing in an intense sandstorm that caused incoming flights to be diverted to airports in neighboring countries. Continue reading below »

View as list
Start with the obvious - drink plenty of water. Tap water quality varies across the Middle East. It’s generally okay to gulp Gulf states’ brew (produced via pricey desalination), but more of a coin toss in less developed nations and rural villages. So stick to the bottles, and keep ‘em coming!
Reduce

Image 1 of 16:  1 / 16Start with the obvious - drink plenty of water. Tap water quality varies across the Middle East. It’s generally okay to gulp Gulf states’ brew (produced via pricey desalination), but more of a coin toss in less developed nations and rural villages. So stick to the bottles, and keep ‘em coming!

Enlarge
Hate how water tastes? Belly up to a juice bar for traditional Arabian mocktails. Steer clear of tea and coffee (caffeine’s a diuretic, draining more fluid from your body!), but MidEast classics like refreshing mint lemonade or karkadeh (hibiscus chiller) are delicious ways to keep heatstroke at bay.
Reduce

Image 2 of 16:  2 / 16Hate how water tastes? Belly up to a juice bar for traditional Arabian mocktails. Steer clear of tea and coffee (caffeine’s a diuretic, draining more fluid from your body!), but MidEast classics like refreshing mint lemonade or karkadeh (hibiscus chiller) are delicious ways to keep heatstroke at bay.

Enlarge
The herbs in that lemon mint slushie do more than tickle taste buds! Some herbs have cooling qualities when eaten or applied to the skin. Check out body washes loaded up chamomile, dandelion and raspberry leaves, hibiscus, and of course - mint. At least you’ll smell cool!
Reduce

Image 3 of 16:  3 / 16The herbs in that lemon mint slushie do more than tickle taste buds! Some herbs have cooling qualities when eaten or applied to the skin. Check out body washes loaded up chamomile, dandelion and raspberry leaves, hibiscus, and of course - mint. At least you’ll smell cool!

Enlarge
Who needs a chill pill? Just chow down on cold watermelon - a sweet, cheap way to beat the heat. Watermelon is a popular summertime snack across the Middle East. When temps soar, locals often sub in the refreshing fruit for warm dinners. (HEAT WARNING: This shot of melon-loving Nancy may cause a temperature spike!)
Reduce

Image 4 of 16:  4 / 16Who needs a chill pill? Just chow down on cold watermelon - a sweet, cheap way to beat the heat. Watermelon is a popular summertime snack across the Middle East. When temps soar, locals often sub in the refreshing fruit for warm dinners. (HEAT WARNING: This shot of melon-loving Nancy may cause a temperature spike!)

Enlarge
Spice up that shawarma with some shatta (hot sauce) or harissa (hot pepper paste). Steer towards spicy - it increases circulation and makes you sweat, which cools your skin.  It’s no coincidence that some of the hottest places have the spiciest food!. Eat often, but small, because the bigger the meal, the more energy you need to digest it.
Reduce

Image 5 of 16:  5 / 16Spice up that shawarma with some shatta (hot sauce) or harissa (hot pepper paste). Steer towards spicy - it increases circulation and makes you sweat, which cools your skin. It’s no coincidence that some of the hottest places have the spiciest food!. Eat often, but small, because the bigger the meal, the more energy you need to digest it.

Enlarge
How to handle Dubai's egg-friable air? Crank up Eminem’s “Survivor” and channel Slim Shady!  Drop sunshades and close curtains during the daytime to shade your rooms and stop sunlight from heating up indoor spaces. Added bonus? Increased privacy when you lounge around listlessly in skimpy clothes or if in holy land, fig leaves!
Reduce

Image 6 of 16:  6 / 16How to handle Dubai's egg-friable air? Crank up Eminem’s “Survivor” and channel Slim Shady! Drop sunshades and close curtains during the daytime to shade your rooms and stop sunlight from heating up indoor spaces. Added bonus? Increased privacy when you lounge around listlessly in skimpy clothes or if in holy land, fig leaves!

Enlarge
You can play it two ways when it comes to heat wave dressing; choose between coolness and local customs. Shed clothes to a socially acceptable minimum (let your zip code make the call!) or go old-school and opt for long loose clothes in natural fibers and light colors to shade and protect skin from the sun.
Reduce

Image 7 of 16:  7 / 16You can play it two ways when it comes to heat wave dressing; choose between coolness and local customs. Shed clothes to a socially acceptable minimum (let your zip code make the call!) or go old-school and opt for long loose clothes in natural fibers and light colors to shade and protect skin from the sun.

Enlarge
Wet a headscarf or hairband and pop it on for a virtual trip to the Arctic Circle! (Dubai’s Crown Prince shows us how it’s done!) If wet t-shirt competitions aren’t your cup of (sage) tea, just drench any item of clothing in cold water for the same chilling effect. The water will cool you as it evaporates. INSIDER TIP: socks work great!
Reduce

Image 8 of 16:  8 / 16Wet a headscarf or hairband and pop it on for a virtual trip to the Arctic Circle! (Dubai’s Crown Prince shows us how it’s done!) If wet t-shirt competitions aren’t your cup of (sage) tea, just drench any item of clothing in cold water for the same chilling effect. The water will cool you as it evaporates. INSIDER TIP: socks work great!

Enlarge
How low can you go? Hot air rises. So if you need a quick cool down, it’s best to get low. Lying on a floor mat may not be the most comfy way to spend your time, but it will move you away from the warmer air currents. Get down, baby, get down!
Reduce

Image 9 of 16:  9 / 16How low can you go? Hot air rises. So if you need a quick cool down, it’s best to get low. Lying on a floor mat may not be the most comfy way to spend your time, but it will move you away from the warmer air currents. Get down, baby, get down!

Enlarge
Breathe deep! Try a cooling yoga breathing technique to help lower body heat. Purse your lips and breathe in slowly through your puckered kisser, then exhale through the nose. Mouth-breathing lets your saliva cool the air before it enters your lungs. Not the best look for heat-wave selfies.
Reduce

Image 10 of 16:  10 / 16Breathe deep! Try a cooling yoga breathing technique to help lower body heat. Purse your lips and breathe in slowly through your puckered kisser, then exhale through the nose. Mouth-breathing lets your saliva cool the air before it enters your lungs. Not the best look for heat-wave selfies.

Enlarge
Don’t be a fan fool! Check blade direction, because ceiling fans must run counter-clockwise to create downdraft, forcing cooler air to the floor. And switch fans off when you leave the house - moving air cools our bodies, but air movement actually heats the air up!
Reduce

Image 11 of 16:  11 / 16Don’t be a fan fool! Check blade direction, because ceiling fans must run counter-clockwise to create downdraft, forcing cooler air to the floor. And switch fans off when you leave the house - moving air cools our bodies, but air movement actually heats the air up!

Enlarge
Ice Ice Baby! Make a poor man’s air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice in front of an electric fan. Pull up a chair, or aim the fan towards wherever you’re perched. This DIY combo can help you (temporarily!) cope with the most insufferable heat wave.
Reduce

Image 12 of 16:  12 / 16Ice Ice Baby! Make a poor man’s air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice in front of an electric fan. Pull up a chair, or aim the fan towards wherever you’re perched. This DIY combo can help you (temporarily!) cope with the most insufferable heat wave.

Enlarge
A quick fix for those with an empty fridge - cool your pillow! Pop it in a plastic bag and stuff it alongside your labneh for the day. By bedtime it will be lusciously chilled. Veins at our temples are close to the skin’s surface, and cooling these pulse points helps reduce heat throughout your body. Disney FROZEN sheets are less effective!
Reduce

Image 13 of 16:  13 / 16A quick fix for those with an empty fridge - cool your pillow! Pop it in a plastic bag and stuff it alongside your labneh for the day. By bedtime it will be lusciously chilled. Veins at our temples are close to the skin’s surface, and cooling these pulse points helps reduce heat throughout your body. Disney FROZEN sheets are less effective!

Enlarge
Water is scarce in our region, so be eco-smart when using it. Dab a bit of cool water on body pressure points where heat tends to gather.  Think wrists, elbows, throat and nape of the neck. These drenched Ammanis know that blood cools almost on contact with cold water. Watch a little go a long way! You’ll feel better and so will the planet!
Reduce

Image 14 of 16:  14 / 16Water is scarce in our region, so be eco-smart when using it. Dab a bit of cool water on body pressure points where heat tends to gather. Think wrists, elbows, throat and nape of the neck. These drenched Ammanis know that blood cools almost on contact with cold water. Watch a little go a long way! You’ll feel better and so will the planet!

Enlarge
Tell your mother to put down the paper fan! Vigorous action uses lots of energy and raises body temperature. Better to burn those calories walking to the nearest cafe or mall to enjoy some time in free air conditioning.  Or do like these overheated Iranians at the Chesme-Ali recreational area near Tehran and go jump in the nearest public pool!
Reduce

Image 15 of 16:  15 / 16Tell your mother to put down the paper fan! Vigorous action uses lots of energy and raises body temperature. Better to burn those calories walking to the nearest cafe or mall to enjoy some time in free air conditioning. Or do like these overheated Iranians at the Chesme-Ali recreational area near Tehran and go jump in the nearest public pool!

Enlarge
Avoid cold showers! Insane-sounding advice on days when you could fry falafel on your skin, but it is much smarter to enjoy a lukewarm shower or tepid tub soak before bed because a cold shock to the skin will prompt your body to overproduce heat once you dry off. Biology can be so cold!
Reduce

Image 16 of 16:  16 / 16Avoid cold showers! Insane-sounding advice on days when you could fry falafel on your skin, but it is much smarter to enjoy a lukewarm shower or tepid tub soak before bed because a cold shock to the skin will prompt your body to overproduce heat once you dry off. Biology can be so cold!

Enlarge

1

Start with the obvious - drink plenty of water. Tap water quality varies across the Middle East. It’s generally okay to gulp Gulf states’ brew (produced via pricey desalination), but more of a coin toss in less developed nations and rural villages. So stick to the bottles, and keep ‘em coming!

Image 1 of 16Start with the obvious - drink plenty of water. Tap water quality varies across the Middle East. It’s generally okay to gulp Gulf states’ brew (produced via pricey desalination), but more of a coin toss in less developed nations and rural villages. So stick to the bottles, and keep ‘em coming!

2

Hate how water tastes? Belly up to a juice bar for traditional Arabian mocktails. Steer clear of tea and coffee (caffeine’s a diuretic, draining more fluid from your body!), but MidEast classics like refreshing mint lemonade or karkadeh (hibiscus chiller) are delicious ways to keep heatstroke at bay.

Image 2 of 16Hate how water tastes? Belly up to a juice bar for traditional Arabian mocktails. Steer clear of tea and coffee (caffeine’s a diuretic, draining more fluid from your body!), but MidEast classics like refreshing mint lemonade or karkadeh (hibiscus chiller) are delicious ways to keep heatstroke at bay.

3

The herbs in that lemon mint slushie do more than tickle taste buds! Some herbs have cooling qualities when eaten or applied to the skin. Check out body washes loaded up chamomile, dandelion and raspberry leaves, hibiscus, and of course - mint. At least you’ll smell cool!

Image 3 of 16The herbs in that lemon mint slushie do more than tickle taste buds! Some herbs have cooling qualities when eaten or applied to the skin. Check out body washes loaded up chamomile, dandelion and raspberry leaves, hibiscus, and of course - mint. At least you’ll smell cool!

4

Who needs a chill pill? Just chow down on cold watermelon - a sweet, cheap way to beat the heat. Watermelon is a popular summertime snack across the Middle East. When temps soar, locals often sub in the refreshing fruit for warm dinners. (HEAT WARNING: This shot of melon-loving Nancy may cause a temperature spike!)

Image 4 of 16Who needs a chill pill? Just chow down on cold watermelon - a sweet, cheap way to beat the heat. Watermelon is a popular summertime snack across the Middle East. When temps soar, locals often sub in the refreshing fruit for warm dinners. (HEAT WARNING: This shot of melon-loving Nancy may cause a temperature spike!)

5

Spice up that shawarma with some shatta (hot sauce) or harissa (hot pepper paste). Steer towards spicy - it increases circulation and makes you sweat, which cools your skin.  It’s no coincidence that some of the hottest places have the spiciest food!. Eat often, but small, because the bigger the meal, the more energy you need to digest it.

Image 5 of 16Spice up that shawarma with some shatta (hot sauce) or harissa (hot pepper paste). Steer towards spicy - it increases circulation and makes you sweat, which cools your skin. It’s no coincidence that some of the hottest places have the spiciest food!. Eat often, but small, because the bigger the meal, the more energy you need to digest it.

6

How to handle Dubai's egg-friable air? Crank up Eminem’s “Survivor” and channel Slim Shady!  Drop sunshades and close curtains during the daytime to shade your rooms and stop sunlight from heating up indoor spaces. Added bonus? Increased privacy when you lounge around listlessly in skimpy clothes or if in holy land, fig leaves!

Image 6 of 16How to handle Dubai's egg-friable air? Crank up Eminem’s “Survivor” and channel Slim Shady! Drop sunshades and close curtains during the daytime to shade your rooms and stop sunlight from heating up indoor spaces. Added bonus? Increased privacy when you lounge around listlessly in skimpy clothes or if in holy land, fig leaves!

7

You can play it two ways when it comes to heat wave dressing; choose between coolness and local customs. Shed clothes to a socially acceptable minimum (let your zip code make the call!) or go old-school and opt for long loose clothes in natural fibers and light colors to shade and protect skin from the sun.

Image 7 of 16You can play it two ways when it comes to heat wave dressing; choose between coolness and local customs. Shed clothes to a socially acceptable minimum (let your zip code make the call!) or go old-school and opt for long loose clothes in natural fibers and light colors to shade and protect skin from the sun.

8

Wet a headscarf or hairband and pop it on for a virtual trip to the Arctic Circle! (Dubai’s Crown Prince shows us how it’s done!) If wet t-shirt competitions aren’t your cup of (sage) tea, just drench any item of clothing in cold water for the same chilling effect. The water will cool you as it evaporates. INSIDER TIP: socks work great!

Image 8 of 16Wet a headscarf or hairband and pop it on for a virtual trip to the Arctic Circle! (Dubai’s Crown Prince shows us how it’s done!) If wet t-shirt competitions aren’t your cup of (sage) tea, just drench any item of clothing in cold water for the same chilling effect. The water will cool you as it evaporates. INSIDER TIP: socks work great!

9

How low can you go? Hot air rises. So if you need a quick cool down, it’s best to get low. Lying on a floor mat may not be the most comfy way to spend your time, but it will move you away from the warmer air currents. Get down, baby, get down!

Image 9 of 16How low can you go? Hot air rises. So if you need a quick cool down, it’s best to get low. Lying on a floor mat may not be the most comfy way to spend your time, but it will move you away from the warmer air currents. Get down, baby, get down!

10

Breathe deep! Try a cooling yoga breathing technique to help lower body heat. Purse your lips and breathe in slowly through your puckered kisser, then exhale through the nose. Mouth-breathing lets your saliva cool the air before it enters your lungs. Not the best look for heat-wave selfies.

Image 10 of 16Breathe deep! Try a cooling yoga breathing technique to help lower body heat. Purse your lips and breathe in slowly through your puckered kisser, then exhale through the nose. Mouth-breathing lets your saliva cool the air before it enters your lungs. Not the best look for heat-wave selfies.

11

Don’t be a fan fool! Check blade direction, because ceiling fans must run counter-clockwise to create downdraft, forcing cooler air to the floor. And switch fans off when you leave the house - moving air cools our bodies, but air movement actually heats the air up!

Image 11 of 16Don’t be a fan fool! Check blade direction, because ceiling fans must run counter-clockwise to create downdraft, forcing cooler air to the floor. And switch fans off when you leave the house - moving air cools our bodies, but air movement actually heats the air up!

12

Ice Ice Baby! Make a poor man’s air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice in front of an electric fan. Pull up a chair, or aim the fan towards wherever you’re perched. This DIY combo can help you (temporarily!) cope with the most insufferable heat wave.

Image 12 of 16Ice Ice Baby! Make a poor man’s air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice in front of an electric fan. Pull up a chair, or aim the fan towards wherever you’re perched. This DIY combo can help you (temporarily!) cope with the most insufferable heat wave.

13

A quick fix for those with an empty fridge - cool your pillow! Pop it in a plastic bag and stuff it alongside your labneh for the day. By bedtime it will be lusciously chilled. Veins at our temples are close to the skin’s surface, and cooling these pulse points helps reduce heat throughout your body. Disney FROZEN sheets are less effective!

Image 13 of 16A quick fix for those with an empty fridge - cool your pillow! Pop it in a plastic bag and stuff it alongside your labneh for the day. By bedtime it will be lusciously chilled. Veins at our temples are close to the skin’s surface, and cooling these pulse points helps reduce heat throughout your body. Disney FROZEN sheets are less effective!

14

Water is scarce in our region, so be eco-smart when using it. Dab a bit of cool water on body pressure points where heat tends to gather.  Think wrists, elbows, throat and nape of the neck. These drenched Ammanis know that blood cools almost on contact with cold water. Watch a little go a long way! You’ll feel better and so will the planet!

Image 14 of 16Water is scarce in our region, so be eco-smart when using it. Dab a bit of cool water on body pressure points where heat tends to gather. Think wrists, elbows, throat and nape of the neck. These drenched Ammanis know that blood cools almost on contact with cold water. Watch a little go a long way! You’ll feel better and so will the planet!

15

Tell your mother to put down the paper fan! Vigorous action uses lots of energy and raises body temperature. Better to burn those calories walking to the nearest cafe or mall to enjoy some time in free air conditioning.  Or do like these overheated Iranians at the Chesme-Ali recreational area near Tehran and go jump in the nearest public pool!

Image 15 of 16Tell your mother to put down the paper fan! Vigorous action uses lots of energy and raises body temperature. Better to burn those calories walking to the nearest cafe or mall to enjoy some time in free air conditioning. Or do like these overheated Iranians at the Chesme-Ali recreational area near Tehran and go jump in the nearest public pool!

16

Avoid cold showers! Insane-sounding advice on days when you could fry falafel on your skin, but it is much smarter to enjoy a lukewarm shower or tepid tub soak before bed because a cold shock to the skin will prompt your body to overproduce heat once you dry off. Biology can be so cold!

Image 16 of 16Avoid cold showers! Insane-sounding advice on days when you could fry falafel on your skin, but it is much smarter to enjoy a lukewarm shower or tepid tub soak before bed because a cold shock to the skin will prompt your body to overproduce heat once you dry off. Biology can be so cold!

Reduce

Over in Iran, Mahshahr Airport roasted at 43°C, but - using the American heat index formula (which combines temperature and humidity to estimate what the air feels like to humans) - that equates to a mind-boggling 73°C!

Heat is deadly. Heatstroke (a severe reaction to high temp) happens when a body’s core temperature reaches 39°C. Before heatstroke comes heat exhaustion, with symptoms including heavy sweating, cramping, and disorientation. It’s serious and we’re all susceptible.

The simplest way to avoid sun sickness is to limit the time that you spend in direct daylight, wear suitable clothing, and drink like a camel (they can down 40 gallons at a time!). Learn more ways to hack the heat with this Al Bawaba guide to Middle East cool!

 

Advertisement

Add a new comment

 avatar