Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

No AC? How to Stay Cool in the World of COVID-19

sweating woman using fan to keep cool without air conditioning

Keeping cool is a little more challenging than usual this summer if you don’t have air conditioning. In the past, cooling centers, public pools, malls, and movie theaters may have been good options for escaping the heat. But things have changed due to COVID-19.

And even though these places may be open now, they may not be the best option for you. This is especially true if you’re at high risk of complications from coronavirus.

When temperatures rise, here are some other ways to help you remain cool and comfortable.

Keep Air Flowing

Circulate the air in your home with box or oscillating pedestal fans. Try these tips to get the most out of them:

Close Window Coverings

Shutter, blinds, draperies, and blackout curtains prevent the sun from heating your home during the day. In fact, sunlight accounts for 20% of summer heat in your home, according to This Old House.

For maximum cooling, close window coverings in the morning before the sun begins to affect the temperature in your home.

Cool Off with Water

A cool shower may lower your body temperature when your home becomes oppressively hot. But although a shower before bed can be helpful, the effects only last a short time.

If you’re too hot to sleep, try these tips:

Stay Low

Spend as much time as possible in the lower levels of your home if you have a multi-story home. Heat builds up in upper levels throughout the day.

Create a temporary living space in your basement, if you have one, to use on hot days and consider sleeping there. Or sleep on the first floor of your home if upstairs is too hot.


When it’s hot out, it’s more important than ever to drink lots of fluids. Water is the best option for staying hydrated without added calories or sugar. Avoid alcohol, which can be dehydrating.

Limit Activity

Take care of mowing, weeding, cleaning, or strenuous activities during the early morning hours when it’s cooler outside. Performing these chores during the heat of the day may increase your risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Investigate Local Options

Need Medical Care?

We've put safety measures in place so we can see more patients in person.

Many areas of the country are making modifications to their usual cooling options this summer due to COVID-19. Some areas may be using convention centers and sports venues as cooling centers so there is enough room for social distancing.

Others may have instituted special areas for at-risk groups so they are more protected from others using the facility. Government officials in your area may have a few creative ideas on how to keep residents cool and safe so look into what your options are.

Copyright 2020 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week