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Your choice of clothing can help you stay cool this holiday weekend

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 8:57 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We’ve been in the 90s for most of the week, and that’s actually average for this time of year. But, even though we aren’t going to see a heatwave for the holiday, you’ll still want to take some extra precautions.

Dew points are in the 70s, making for a hot and muggy Independence Day. What you wear can make a difference in how cool you stay while you celebrate.

10/11 NOW did an experiment, investigating if the color of your clothes can really make a difference in the heat. It turns out, it can, and it’s a noticeable one. We left four shirts, red, white, blue, and black, outside for six hours and checked the temperatures throughout the day.

“We want you to be wearing that light colored clothing, lightweight and loose fitting because it is going to reflect the sunlight, and the black colored clothing is going to absorb it and make it a little bit hotter,” said 10/11 NOW meteorologist Brandon Rector.

If you’re wanting to wear your patriotic colors, white will be your best bet. Over the course of our six hour experiment, the shirt stayed close to the air temperature. At the start, it measured 98.6 degrees. At 2 p.m., the shirt was at 91.5. By 4 p.m., it had gone down to 89.2.

If you’re choosing red or blue, you may want to stay in the shade. Each started near 99 degrees, but by 2 p.m., the red shirt was measuring 131, and the blue shirt, 119.4. By 4 p.m. they were at 105.6 and 111 respectively.

Where you’ll really need to be careful is wearing dark colors. Our black shirt started at 100, but by 2 p.m. hit 140.3 degrees. At 4 p.m., it was still at 119.7, 30 degrees warmer than our white shirt.

Those temperatures could have serious health risks.

“If you don’t take proper precautions, you’re setting yourself up for some of those heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” Rector said.

With the pandemic, this rule also applies to masks. The lighter your mask, the easier you’ll be able to breathe.

“It’s already hotter with those masks anyway, but it could potentially be hotter if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time if you’re wearing a dark colored mask versus a light colored mask,” Rector said.

Rector said it’s important to note you will have to do more than just wear light-colored clothing to stay cool. You’ll also want to drink plenty of water and take breaks indoors.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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