There’s no getting away from the fact that summers in the UK are changing, sadly due to Climate change they are getting hotter and hotter.
When the temperatures begin to soar, being out in the sunshine becomes more dangerous or even deadly and will affect everyone, but particularly the elderly, younger children, pregnant women and people who have chronic health conditions.
So what can you do to help keep cool during the summer heat?
Keeping your home cool
Opening the windows and doors may feel like the right thing to do, it’s almost a natural instinct, but actually keeping them and curtains closed actually keeps it cooler during the hottest parts of the day.
First thing in the morning, before the sun is at full strength and later in the evening are
the best times to open them, as they will let the cooler air in to circulate around the
Ever wondered why those shutters you see in Spain and France are there? Not just to
look nice, but to keep the heat out!
Keeping you cool
It’s not always possible to make use of your children’s paddling pool or to have a water fight, but water is a great way to keep cool. So instead of splashing around in the pool, try dampening your t-shirt and wearing it wet – this can be really effective if you are really suffering. Alternatively, grab a scarf or towel and wet it and wear it around your neck.
The other option is to pop your feet and hands into cold water – wrists and ankles have pulse points where blood vessels are closer to the skin meaning you will cool down quicker.
Keeping you cool at night
Hot temperatures make it a lot more difficult to sleep, but try sticking to your usual bed time routine if you can – sometimes it feels like it would be too hot to even contemplate getting into bed. However, before you throw the duvet off the bed completely, try adding a thin sheet between you and the duvet and keep the duvet by your feet. Also having a cool shower just before bed will help gradually bring your body’s temperature down.
Drink, drink drink
We all know that drinking is beneficial for keeping hydrated and cool, but try to avoid drinking alcohol as this can actually work as a dehydrator than a rehydrator. If you fancy a nice cool glass of something, keep it to a minimum and drink water in between to keep your hydration levels up.
Keep an eye out for dizziness, headaches, confusion or dry mouth as this is a sure sign of dehydration. If these conditions get worse, call 999 for help as you could be suffering from heat exhaustion.
Drinking isotonic sports drinks are a great way to replenish lost salts, sugars and fluids lost through perspiration.
Eating the right food
When it’s hot, who wants to put the oven on? Eating lighter, well balanced regular meals will help keep you comfortable. Foods that naturally contain water will help keep your fluid intake up, so try to include them in your meals. High water content foods include melon, cucumber, celery, lettuce, as well as soups or stews which can contribute to your hydration levels.
Keep out of the sun
Where possible, avoid going out in the sun during the hottest parts of the day – generally
between 11am and 4pm, or if you are outside, try to keep to shaded areas and wear a hat. Take regular breaks and drink plenty. Wearing loose clothing in light colours are also a great way to help keep cool if you are faced with being outside during the hottest hours. Oh and don’t forget to wear suncream!
Exercise is great for the body and mental health, so try not to avoid this when it’s hot, just move the time that you do it if you can. An early morning run, or an evening bike ride are much safer and probably nicer times to exercise and once you’re finished you can cool down by having a lovely cool shower. Also make sure you drink plenty, including isotonic sports drinks to replenish lost salts and sugars.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are conditions to be aware of when it;s hot, so keep an eye out for signs of either.
Heat Exhaustion is caused when the body loses excess water, salt and sugars through sweating but can be easily remedied by drinking and keeping out ouf the sun.
Heat stroke is far more serious and occurs when the body’s temperature becomes dangerously high and is no longer able to cool itself.
Symptoms include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea and cramps. You can also look paler.
Heat stroke can develop quickly and with little warning so it is important to keep an eye out and call 999 for help if the conditions worsen. Wrapping someone in a dampened sheet will help to cool them down slowly
The red cross have some really useful articles on staying safe, click here to find out more