The UK sometimes surprises us with a lengthy heatwave or two. Even for the most sun-loving people out there, the heat can be a bit too much – especially for those who work or live in buildings without air-conditioning.
The hot weather can be particularly dangerous for older people, with many suffering from dehydration or heat stroke. Fortunately, there are ways of keeping cool and safe during a heatwave, including these five top tips:
1. Stay Indoors During Peak Times
Although it feels like it’s boiling all day long during this heatwave, the peak hours for the sun are between 11am and 3pm. During this time you should try and avoid being outside as temperatures will be at their highest.
2. Keep Hydrated & Eat Cooler Foods
Dehydration is one of the main risks as the temperature increases. It occurs when our bodies lose more fluid than they take in. Early signs of dehydration include a feeling of thirst, dizziness, a dry mouth, or having dark coloured urine. Dehydration in hot weather can be avoided by regularly drinking cool drinks such as water or fruit juice and avoiding hot caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee. You may need to keep drinking even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoiding alcohol is also a good idea as it will only make the dehydration worse.
Eating foods which high water content can also help during a heatwave, such as strawberries, grapefruit, melon, cucumber and iceberg lettuce.
3. Keep your Home in the Shade
There are a few things that you can do around your home to help keep it a little bit cooler. Some top tips include:
- Keeping your curtains closed if you have light-coloured ones.
- Closing blinds during peak time.
- Have your windows open up until the peak heat.
- Keep your doors open so that rooms don’t become too hot.
4. Take a Cool Bath or Shower
If you’re feeling too hot then it might be best to head to your bathroom and take a nice cool bath or shower. Doing so will keep you refreshed and reduce your body temperature. Perhaps pour cold water over a flannel and keep this with you through your home.
5. Take it Easy during the Heatwave
One of the best things you can do during the heatwave is to take it easy. Doing even the easiest and simplest activity can cause more discomfort for you during the hot weather. Doing too much in the heat can lead to dehydration, which can dramatically hinder the body’s ability to stay cool.
Try and relax as much as possible and find the coolest room in your home to stay in for an hour or two. Take it easy, keep hydrated and avoid long periods of time out in the sunshine.
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Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 14th June 2021 to reflect current information.