Heatwaves are happening around the world, with the UK set for the hottest day of the year so far this weekend. And they are getting longer and hotter because of climate change. While enjoying the sunshine is pleasant, scorching temperatures can be fatal to younger and older people, pregnant women, and anyone that has a history of health problems.
However, there are many things we can do to safeguard our loved ones and ourselves. Following are some suggestions for staying cool during the heat wave.
1. Be sun smart
The hottest times of the day should ideally be avoided, but occasionally it is unavoidable. To prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke when outdoors in the sun, wear (and frequently reapply) sunscreen, cover your head with a hat, and take frequent rests indoors or in a shady location. You can stay cool by wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.
2. Wetter is better
The largest organ in the body, the skin, allows heat to leave the body. So the more skin you can cool off, the better.
You can purchase cooling spray or take a cool shower to avoid walking around in wet clothes. By dipping your hands and feet in cold water, you can instantly cool yourself. You will cool down more quickly since your wrists and ankles have several pulse points where blood vessels are close to the skin.
3. Drink plenty of water
To prevent dehydration, you must replace the liquids you lose through sweating throughout the day. Dehydration can cause headaches, a dry mouth, and confusion or drowsiness. Dehydration can cause heat exhaustion if left untreated. If the person’s condition deteriorates, dial 999 for emergency assistance.
To replace lost salts, sugars, and fluids, stay away from caffeine and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and, if you can, isotonic sports drinks.
4. Keep your home cool
Making your home a place where you can escape the heat during the summer is crucial, so keeping it cool is essential to feeling comfortable. When the weather is warm, it may seem natural to throw open the windows and doors, but doing so can help keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside.
Once it has cooled off in the evening, you can reopen them to let the cool air circulate. Keeping your curtains, shutters, or blinds closed also helps, though metal blinds can raise the temperature in the space. By cooking less or using fewer appliances, you can also try to reduce the amount of heat in your house.
5. Limit your alcohol
The sun is shining brightly, and so are the spirits of many. And that might take us to a bar.
Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to combine too much sun with too many alcoholic beverages. Dehydration brought on by alcohol can be particularly painful if your body is already having a hard time adjusting to the weather. Additionally, drinking alcohol can make it more difficult to sleep soundly at night, which is already a challenge in warm weather. Although you may sleep quickly, the quality of your sleep is likely to be subpar, and you’ll probably wake up earlier than usual—not exactly the rejuvenating sleep you’ll need. Try to limit your drinking.
6. Limit physical activity to cooler parts of the day
Although it’s best to avoid too much disruption of your routine due to the heat, there are times when it might be necessary. When you’re nice and sleepy in bed, a morning run might feel punishing, but exercising in the hot midday sun could be harmful and put you at risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
When arranging your day, consider the weather and try to avoid engaging in strenuous physical activity when it’s hot. If you do choose to exercise or participate in a sport, be sure to hydrate well and take more breaks than usual to avoid overworking your body.
7. Know the risks
Your physical health can be seriously impacted by the heat, so it’s crucial to watch out for symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, especially during a heatwave. Heatstroke is potentially much more serious than heat exhaustion, which many people mistake for it.
The body loses too much salt, sugar, and water through sweating, which leads to heat exhaustion. By drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding the sun, and cooling off, it can be treated.
When the body’s temperature rises to dangerous levels and the ability to cool itself is lost, heatstroke occurs. Confusion, a headache, nausea, and cramps are among the symptoms.
Paler skin than normal is another symptom; depending on your skin tone, this could make your skin appear ashen, grey, or more yellowish. This colour change might be more obvious on the tongue, gums, eyes, or palms of the hands.
Heatstroke can develop with little warning and quickly lead to a person becoming unresponsive. It’s vital to cool them down as quickly as possible by wrapping them in a wet sheet or clothing and dialling 999.