Tips to keep your cool during a heatwave
Last Wednesday was the hottest day of the year, with temperatures reaching an eye watering 36.7 ºC at Heathrow – how did you get on? Weather experts are predicting more hot weather across the summer and this year’s heatwave may even be repeated before summer leaves us. So with July and August ahead, how to make the most of sunny days without suffering? August 2003 saw the highest recorded temperatures in the UK hit 38ºC (101ºF) across a heatwave lasting nine days. Graham Bickler of Public Health England illustrated its deadly effects: “There were 2,000 to 3,000 excess deaths [more than usual] in England. Across Europe, there were around 30,000 excess deaths.”
The NHS lists the main risks posed by a heatwave as being:
- Overheating, making symptoms worse for people with pre-existing heart or breathing difficulties
- Heat exhaustion
News outlets also reported a spike in the pollen count and UV levels in tandem with higher temperatures. Spending a summer’s day feeling like you’ve got a head cold thanks to hay fever is miserable, and the risks posed by overexposure to damaging UV radiation from the sun are well known. Young children, the elderly and anyone with a serious medical condition can be badly affected by hot weather. Heatwaves can pose serious health risks to those who are vulnerable, with heart and breathing problems causing most concern. Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Hot and even warm weather can cause real problems for our pets.”
Hydration: water is key to coping with heat and staying healthy and active during the summer months.
- Swap caffeine and alcohol for herbal or iced teas. Caffeine can increase heart rate, body temperature and affect sleep patterns, all which can add to difficulties managing comfort during periods of high heat. Alcohol is a known diuretic and assists dehydration.
- Try herbal and fruit infusions which make for refreshing iced teas: add some sliced fruit, honey or fresh fruit juice for additional flavour, or experiment to make mocktails. Great recipe ideas can be found at Southern Living.com
- Keep indoor spaces cool by closing curtains and pulling down shades.
- Regularly apply sunscreen if exposed to sunlight incorporating light, non-greasy moisturisers locking in hydration to skin.
Dermalogica protection 50 sport SPF 50, £30.20, dermatologica.co.uk
- Exercise outdoors during early hours or later in the evening – the hottest time of the day is between 11am and 3pm.
- Have cool showers and baths and splash water on skin. Soaking hands or feet in cool water can help to regulate overall body temperature. Misting sprays aren’t limited to water, but can be used to moisturise dry eyes and set make-up.
Magicool body & face cooler, £3.99, Superdrug
Chill cooling and hydrating make-up setting spray, £21, Urban Decay
- Try to wear natural materials like linen and cotton (not only clothing but bed linens): manmade fibres like polyester trap sweat and heat against the skin. 100% cotton bedding is available widely from outlets like BHS to secretlinenstore.com.
- Stock up on hay fever remedies. Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert has posted a guide to getting the best deals on hay fever medications not requiring a prescription.