With temperatures across Europe reaching record-breaking highs, people have been struggling to cope with the extreme heat. And with climate change it’s going to be problem we can’t ignore. While many of us love the hot weather, rushing for the nearest open water or soaking up the rays, it can pose serious health risks too. So, we thought we’d gather some tips and hints on how to stay cool in a heatwave.
This is so important as we need to replace the fluids lost when we sweat in the heat. Try a marked bottle which will remind you when to drink, and show you how much water you’ve taken in. Or try to get into the habit of drinking every time you check your Instagram or get up from your desk. Aim for at least 1.5 litres per day and up to three if possible. Snack on foods that have a high water content, like cucumbers and watermelon.
2.Surround yourself with linen
Linen clothes, linen bedsheets, linen towels: this is the time of year to fully embrace the magical temperature-regulating properties of this natural fabric. It will help you sleep more comfortably as it not only cools you down, it also wicks away moisture from your skin. And it dries super-quickly too, so towels can be repacked in a jiffy and sweaty clothes soon look as good as new. It’s also anti-microbial so you don’t need to worry about sweat smelling unpleasant. Linen really is perfect for summer.
While you may need to be outside throughout the day, wherever possible try to stay indoors for the hottest time of the day – between 12-3pm. If you can, make like the Mediterraneans and take a nap or siesta after lunch so you can sleep through the worst of the heat.
If you do need to venture outdoors wear a hat, loose long sleeved clothing and plenty of high SPF sunscreen. If you are prone to breakouts or have sensitive skin you are especially at risk of increased sun damage so make sure you slather on the suncream frequently. Carry a fan if you suffer hot flashes or need circulating air in confined spaces.
5.Take it slow
Now is not the time to tackle a challenging race or climb that peak you’ve always wanted to scale. Instead, take this as an opportunity to slow down a bit. Take leisurely strolls in the evening when the temperature has dropped. Swim in open water and take in the surroundings rather than pounding your laps. Lie in the park or your garden with a book at lunchtime or after work, instead of scrolling social media or hitting the gym. Try to follow your body’s lead: if it’s feeling heavy and lethargic just go with it and rest up until the weather breaks.
As well as looking after yourself, there are things you can do to care for your wider community in a heatwave. If there are elderly people living alone nearby, check that they are coping ok and offer to get their groceries if it’s too much for them. Leave water out for the birds and insects. Don’t leave your dog inside a car, even with a window open – they can overheat quickly and become seriously ill. Water your plants using collected rainwater or grey household water, and try not to us the hose.