Jul 19, 2023 - Health

Axios Finish Line: How hot drinks can cool you down

Illustration of a tea cup with bubbles and a lemon slice creating a smiley face

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Drinking something hot might actually cool you down.

Why it matters: As July sets global heat records, finding ways to cool down and stay hydrated is more important than ever.

What they're saying: "When we have a hot drink, we sweat more, and when we sweat more, it cools us down more than, say, a cold drink," said William Kornrich, internal medicine specialist at NYU Langone Medical Associates – Riverhead, referencing a study on the topic.

  • That's true as long as you're not wearing a lot of clothing and not in an extremely humid place — because sweat needs to evaporate to draw heat from the body.

Yes, but don't overthink your drink's temperature: "The real important thing is that you're getting fluid into your system on a regular basis," Kornrich said.

Be smart: "On hot days, you have to listen to what your body is telling you," Kornrich said.

  • "Water is wonderful," but if you're exerting yourself, consider supplementing with electrolyte drinks.
  • If you need more help cooling down, you could use ice or a cold compress on your skin "where veins are a little bit more prominent, such as our groin and underarms."

Hydrate and get out of the sun if you've got cold and pale skin, a rapid or weak pulse, muscle spasms, dizziness or nausea. Those are signs of heat exhaustion.

Go deeper: Cooling down with a hot drink isn't as crazy as you think

This article appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and wellness. Sign up here.

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