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Quickly cool down in the sweltering heat with this simple technique used by the US Army

Published Jul 4th, 2024 11:27AM EDT
A solider stands in the desert heat
Image: guvendemir/Getty Images

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With heat waves continuing to hit different parts of the world, folks everywhere will undoubtedly be looking for ways to cool down quickly. But what if I told you that one of the most effective quick cooling techniques is actually low-tech, inexpensive, and has even been embraced by the U.S. Army?

The technique in question is simple. Next time you’re starting to feel the effects of the sweltering heat, run yourself an ice bath–or just grab large bucket or bowl and fill it with water and ice if you don’t fancy the whole bath. Then, stick your forearms in it and let the cold water do its thing.

According to a report by CBS News, an ice bath can lower the core body temperature by up to 1 degree Fahrenheit. That doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re just thinking about temperatures as a whole, but for your body, the 1 degree this quick cooling technique gives you can make a huge difference.

Girl driver being hot during heat wave in carImage source: DimaBerlin / Adobe

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dave DeGroot told CBS that the effect is similar to what a radiator does for a car. DeGroot is in charge of the Army Heat Center at Fort Moore in Georgia, and having been born and raised in the southern state, I can definitely attest to how awful the summers tend to get.

By pressing your forearms into ice water, though, you’re cooling off the blood flowing back to your heart and to the rest of your body. This helps spread that coolness to the rest of your body, too. That’s what makes this quick cooling technique so effective.

Of course, the gold standard for cooling off quickly is full-body immersion. But it’s not always possible to draw up an ice bath at the drop of a hat. So, if nothing else, try it with a smaller bowl or bucket and see how it helps you out the next time you find yourself dealing with sweltering heat.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.