Howdy friends! I hope everyone has had a fantastic week so far and are getting ready for a wonderful weekend. If your week hasn't been fantastic, please stop what you are doing, rub the belly of your preferred household pet, take a drink of water, remind yourself that you are awesome and return to your reading.

Feel better? Good. You're awesome. Don't forget that.

Emma Vatnsdal / The Forum
Emma Vatnsdal / The Forum

To recap the past couple of weeks in the Friday 5 world we have talked about the county fair and s'mores — two quintessential summertime entities that truly enhance the summer experience.

But one thing is missing. When we are talking summer, we can't skip over the fact that at any given time walking into the great outdoors feels like stepping into an oven. Guys, it's hot outside. Like, really, really hot outside.

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I am all for summer heat and whatnot — hot lake days are the best days (except for the latest sunburn I received last weekend. I did wear sunscreen though, I promise!) — but sometimes it just gets oppressive. Because sticky, sweaty, hot and gross is not good for anyone and it really makes life uncomfortable, here are five ways to keep yourself cool as a cuke when the temp is hot, hot, hot.

Protect yourself

Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing can help protect against heat and sun. Fabrics that are made from natural materials dry faster and allow air movement through the fabrics. Heavier fabrics cling to the skin and can trap sweat, which adds a layer of heat between the fabric and your body.

Looking for looser cotton weaves — like poplin, seersucker and madras cotton — can ensure the garment will stay breathable all summer long.

Drink up

Not crazy about that H2O lifestyle? Try snacking on fruits that have a high water content. Watermelon, oranges, raspberries and peaches are a great treat when you feel nothing but heat! Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Not crazy about that H2O lifestyle? Try snacking on fruits that have a high water content. Watermelon, oranges, raspberries and peaches are a great treat when you feel nothing but heat! Getty Images / Special to The Forum

Dehydration is no joke, folks. When you're out in the sun, it is extremely important to consume those fluids.

The human body functions best within a certain temperature range, when you get too warm blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow to the skin and allows excess heat to radiate away from the body. Soon after, you begin to perspire — the evaporation of the sweat cools the skin and helps to cool the whole body.

Drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration and other equally serious heat-related illnesses. Start hydrating yourself as soon as (or even before) you go outside. It's easier to maintain fluid balance if you start out in a well-hydrated state, as opposed to pushing fluids after you start to feel fatigued.

Not crazy about that H2O lifestyle? Try snacking on fruits that have a high water content. Watermelon, oranges, raspberries and peaches are a great treat when you feel nothing but heat.

Chill out

Feeling your blood starting to boil and aren't even irritated with anyone? You need to chill. Literally.

Use a cool, damp rag to wipe your face and neck. It may not be much, but it will help enough. When you are able, step into a cool shower and wash off the grime and grit of the day.

Avoid drinking ice-cold water, though. The change in temperature can send your body into shock.

I (don't) wanna soak up the sun

Get out of the sun by finding a large tree. Shade can mean all the difference sometimes! Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Get out of the sun by finding a large tree. Shade can mean all the difference sometimes! Getty Images / Special to The Forum

This may be a little contrary to my general message, but avoiding direct sunlight really can help. I have dealt with many sunburns already this summer, and let me tell you: there is nothing worse than a sunburn when it is already super hot outside.

Heading to the beach? Grab an umbrella and make yourself a shady place. At the park? Hug a tree! (Literally and figuratively. Every day is Earth Day!) Even something as simple as wearing a hat can dramatically reduce the risk of sun-related issues when it hits the 90s.

Take a break

When all else fails, take a break.

I know the sunshine makes you want to be outside all day, but really, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are nothing to mess around with. Trying to stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible can keep you cool, while taking a cool shower can return your body to normal temperature when it starts to get warm.

If the AC isn't available, find a shady place to sit back and relax for a bit. Anything helps in the heat game.

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Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.