Don't get beat by the heat!
Published on 23 July 2019 09:35 AM
In the current hot weather it can be difficult to keep your cool. Here's some tips to help you:
Keeping it cool at home;
- Close the curtains and keep windows closed on the sunnyside of the house during the day
- Open the windows on the shady side
- Open windows on both sides of the house once the sun has gone down to create a breeze
- note: if it's really hot, it actually keeps you cooler to have the windows closed as the air inside in the shade will be cooler than the air outside! Only open the windows in the evening when the air outside is cooler.
- Make sure your heating is off if you have it on a timer
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold water and put it in fridge - to take to bed, or to put behind you like a cushion
- Drink! Water is your best bet, though tea and coffee are just fine too. Alcohol will make you more dehydrated and susceptable to heatstroke.
- Drink before you are thirsty. In hot weather it can be much harder to tell if you are dehydrated - your urine should be a pale straw colour. Any darker and you need to be drinking more.
- a damp towel on the back of your neck, or running cold water over your wrists is a quick way to feel cooler.
- Foods with high water content (strawberries, cucumber, tomatoes..) will help keep you hydrated and are easier to digest. Avoid heavy meals as they take more energy to digest - rising your temperature. Though there are studies that suggest spicy food helps you cool down!
- Check that you have enough of your medications and also if any needs to be kept cool or in the fridge.
Keeping Cool in Bed
- Swap your blankets or duvet for a cotton sheet
- Wear natural fibres to bed - such as cotton
- Sleep naked
- Put a cold hot water bottle into bed about 1/2 hour before you go to bed
- Use a fan in the bedroom
- If you can do this easily - put your sheets in the freezer for 1/2 an hour before bed
- Sleeping under a damp towel helps some people feel cooler - or wearing damp socks to cool the feet
- try to keep your bedroom as cool as possible during the day by leaving the curtains or blinds closed (though be aware that very heavy curtains or metal blinds will have the opposite effect)
- Have a lukewarm shower before bed
Out and About
- Take it easy! Avoid strenuous work and slow down.
- Find somewhere with air conditioning - libraries and cinemas are often good choices.
- Wear several thin layers of clothes rather than 1 chunky layer – clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton, and linen are more breathable and will help you feel cooler
- Light colours will reflect heat better than dark colours
- Loose clothing will allow air to circulate and help you feel cooler
- Remember to wear sunscreen - even those one's that say 'all day' or '8 hours' should be reapplied every 2 hours.
- Wear a hat to protect the delicate skin on your face - or use an umbrella as a sunshade.
- Keep to the shade - don't sit out in direct sunlight
- the sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm - if your shadow is shorter than you are take care!
- try and schedule outdoor tasks to be done early or later in the day.
- Remember our pets suffer in the heat as well as they can't sweat like we do.
- Exercise them in the early morning or late evening when its' cool - hot pavements can burn paws!
- Don't leave them in cars - but also caravans, conservatories or outbuildings as the temperatures can rise very quickly.
- Make sure there is plenty of water for them to drink
Most people in the UK aren't used to such extreme temperatures, which can cause heat exhaustion and, more seriously, heatstroke.
Signs of heat exhaustion can include tiredness or weakness, feeling faint or dizzy, having muscle cramps or feeling sick. If left untreated, the more serious symptoms of heatstroke can develop, including confusion, disorientation and even a loss of consciousness.
Those suffering the signs of heat exhaustion should go to a cool place with air conditioning or shade, use a cool, wet sponge or flannel and drink fluids - ideally water, fruit juice or a rehydration drink, such as a sports drink.
Those most vulnerable include the elderly, people with conditions such as diabetes, young children and people working or exercising outdoors.