Jayson Hamler, 7, plays in Milwaukee as hot, humid weather takes hold of U.S. midwest and heads toward the East Coast.

The East coast is experiencing a record-setting heat wave. And, in Washington, D.C., the air is so humid and hot you could almost chew on it like you would a baked good. But how do you beat the heat without turning your carbon footprint into one big enough to rival Big Foot? And when should you stop innovating to get cheaper, more environmentally friendly cool-down solutions?

Good magazine reporter Sarah Laskow has some tips for how to stay cool without cranking up your air conditioning. But, she warns, don’t jeopardize your safety. Sleeping outside, buying a fan and opening your windows during the early morning and late at night, when the sun isn’t high in the sky, are not options everyone can excercise. For some people, the heat will pose a considerable and perhaps even deadly risk:

We’re not set up to take advantage of all the ways that people kept cool before air conditioning, and it’s not reasonable for everybody to go without it. Oh, sure, don’t keep the thermostat turned down to 53 degrees Fahrenheit; don’t run it when you’re not at home; clean the filter; don’t cool rooms you’re not occupying. But if you’re going to be sleeping in a windowless bedroom on the 9th floor of an apartment building in the middle of a city, you’re going to need central air.

The Post’s Theresa Vargas reports that Washington, D.C. fire and EMS teams expect to transport more than 300 people to the hospital before midnight Friday. So, if cranking up the air conditioning is your only option, remember: Safety comes first.

(Wasihngton Post and Good)