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Why eating spicy food helps you stay cool and 10 other ways to beat the heat.

Summer is officially here, and one thing's for certain:

GIF via "Scrubs."


And while summer and warm weather typically go hand in metaphorical hand, this heat is unprecedented.

For days, the southwest U.S. has seen record-setting temperatures with highs reminiscent of a pre-heating oven.

Tucson, Arizona, hit 115 degrees on June 19, 2016, breaking a more than 20-year-old heat record. And Southern California is facing wildfires, too, as rising temperatures fan the flames.

A plane drops fire retardant in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

Heatwaves are more than a sweaty struggle, though — they can be really dangerous.

When it comes to extreme temperatures, it can be difficult to know how our bodies will react, and situations can go from "just fine" to "catastrophic" in a matter of minutes. In mid-June, intense temperatures claimed the lives of hikers on four different trails in Arizona.

"It really shows how critical this heat can be and how it can really sneak up on you," Capt. Larry Subervi, a spokesman for the Phoenix Fire Department told The Arizona Republic.

Whether you're in the Southwest or waging your own battle with the sun, here are 11 easy (and affordable) ways to beat the heat and stay safe.

1. Ice cream. The answer is always ice cream.

This may seem like a pretty vanilla solution, but when it comes to the rocky roads of summer heat, don't drive yourself bananas. Just dish up some ice cream (or sorbet or ice pops) and wait this whole thing out.

GIF via Pusheen.

2. Dress for sun success — sun-cess, if you will.

As the temperature rises, think light: Swap heavy, dark colored clothes for lighter alternatives like linen, jute, or even cotton. Thinner, lighter fabrics will keep you cool and absorb less heat. And don't forget your hat!

3. Visit a community cooling station.

In periods of blistering heat, local communities, churches, and nonprofit organizations will often organize temporary cooling and hydration stations. These shelters offer bottled water and a safe place to cool off. Some even provide sunscreen, hats, and bandannas, anything to protect people from the heat.

A young girl takes a break at a Chicago cooling station. Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images.

4. Eat something spicy.

This may sound silly, but eating spicy food can actually keep you cool. It's a peculiar phenomenon called gustatory sweating. The condensed version: You eat spicy foods, your start to sweat, and as that sweat evaporates, you cool off. One the one hand, it can be time consuming, but on the other hand, tacos.

5. Or drink something mild.

The menthol found in mint can trick our brains into thinking we're cold, so a cup of iced peppermint tea can be the perfect refreshment on a hot day. And drinking plenty of water is absolutely vital. Staying hydrated is key to preventing heat illnesses.

Photo (cropped) by Esad Hajderevic/Flickr.

6. Go ahead, take a day off ... from strenuous exercise that is.

Are you one of those people who runs everyday or is just a mess without your daily bicycle commute? Physical fitness is great, but when heat strikes, exercising outside can be dangerous. Skip the outdoor workout, or if you can, move it to the gym. If you simply have to get outdoors, go before sunrise or at dusk.

GIF via "Harvey Beaks."

7. Be a fan's biggest fan.

Fans are an affordable, mobile, way to deliver cool air just where you want it, which is often more cost-effective than cooling down your entire home.

GIF via "The Simpsons."

8. Freeze your way to a good night's sleep.

Fold your pillowcase and slip it into a plastic bag. Place it in the freezer, and put it back on your pillow just before bed. The cooling sensation won't last all night, but the burst of cold may be just enough to help you get some rest.

GIF via "Monsters Inc."

9. Go ahead and be shady.

Keep your home cool by drawing blinds and shades when the sun is out. When you're ready for new ones, pick lights colors that reflect heat.

Photo (cropped) by Shayak Sen/Flickr.

10. Get your fill of free AC and entertainment at the movies.

OK, so you have to pay to get in, but once you do, you've got hours of uninterrupted, conditioned air in a big, dark room watching (hopefully) an entertaining, (or at the very least) loud story. Trying to save some dough? See a matinee, and check your local theater for weekday specials.

See also your local bowling alley or museum. GIF via Cartoon Network.

11. When all else fails, get more ice cream.

It's hot out there, and you've earned it.

GIF via "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."

However you cool off this summer, stay safe, look out for your friends and neighbors, and have fun.

Because all the sweating aside, that's what this season is all about.

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See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

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The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

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The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.