Summer is finally here. Reports suggest that there is an 80% chance of their being an “official heat wave” in the UK between midday tomorrow (June 30th) until early Thursday. And whilst we’re all busy rejoicing the welcome return of hot, sunny weather and planning the evening BBQs and visits to beer gardens, there is a serious side to the expected heat wave.
During the heat wave of 2003, it was reported there were between 2,000 and 3,000 excess deaths (more than normal), in England. With the mercury set to hit 32⁰C this week, it’s important to make sure you and your loved ones are safe and keep cool in the summer, by following these top tips.
Keep Cool When Temperatures Soar:
As much as we’d all love to be by the sea, cocktail in hand and soaking up the sun – in reality many of us will still be a few weeks away from our summer holidays, but make sure you stay cool this week whilst the mercury rises, by…
- Placing your fans next to an open window during the cooler parts of the day (before 11am and after 3pm) as this will help to circulate the cool air from outside around the room. Outside of these areas, use a desktop fan to keep cool whilst you’re in the office.
- Chill out super fast – place ice packs or cold compresses on your pulse points. These can be found on your wrists, neck, elbows, ankles and behind your knees. [source: greatist.com]
- Feeling hot and sweaty after work? Take a cool (not cold) shower. Not only will this help to cool the body temperature down but it’ll also remove sweat.
- Drink plenty. As tempting as the beer garden may be with friends and family (and a few glasses of white wine / IPA), avoid them. Instead, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, take a swig of water. [source: nhs.org]Along with drinking plenty of water, make sure it’s cold, clean and refreshing water by utilising a water filter jug, which takes out all the impurities from tap water, whilst fitting neatly in your fridge for the perfect, refreshing glass of H2O.
- Stay away from the oven and turn to the BBQ instead. Hot weather is not the time for a hearty stew or big meal. Firstly, larger meals create more metabolic heat. Secondly, your oven will heat your home when in use, making it uncomfortable. Instead, turn to your BBQ and enjoy light meals accompanied by a fresh, refreshing salad.
- Breathe deeply. It’s said that Yoga has a cooling breathing technique which involves rolling the tongue and breathing slowly through the mouth to help limit body heat. It also has the added benefit of helping you to de-stress. [source: telegraph.co.uk]
- Don’t forget the sunscreen when you’re out and about. It’s recommended to use a sunscreen with SPF 15. When it comes to selecting a sunscreen, don’t just focus on the SPF rating, also consider the UVB and UVA protection.You should also wear sunglasses with a CE mark or UV400 label. Using an Aloe Vera after sun in the evening can also help cool your body temperature down.
- Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day, and limit any housework or gardening to before 11am or after 3pm, when it’ll be cooler.
- Switch off. Firstly, it’s nice outside so why are you watching your TV / surfing the internet? Instead, you should be outside enjoying the weather. Switching off your electrical items will also help to keep the temperature of your home down, as heat will not be generated by these appliances.
- Keep your windows and curtains closed and prevent your home from becoming like a greenhouse. Keeping the windows and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day will keep the cool air in your home and the heat out.
- Use reflective windscreen shades in your car when it’s parked, and if you’re parking in a secure area leave your car windows slightly ajar. This will help prevent your car feeling like an oven at the end of the working day.
Sleep Well By Staying Cool:
When the temperatures rise, getting the perfect night sleep can often be difficult. But by following these tips, there’s no reason why you cannot stay cool in bed and sleep for the recommended 8 hours and wake as fresh as a daisy.
- Cool your pillow. Wrap it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer during the day. This will help keep your pillow nice and cold during the night, cooling your temple as you sleep, which will help your body to remain cool. [source: telegraph.co.uk]
- Ditch the duvet. When travelling abroad for our summer holidays, the beds rarely have a duvet, instead just a sheet. During the hot weather back home, do the same – ditch the duvet and lie under a sheet.
- Open your windows. The outside temperature at night will be a lot cooler, help remove any unwanted heat from your home, by opening the windows.
- Lay low as heat rises. If your room is particularly hot at night, leave the bed and lie on the floor where it’s likely to be cooler. Alternatively, sleep downstairs (where possible) as it is again likely to be cooler here, due to heat rising – helping you to sleep better in hot weather.
Don’t Forget Your Pets:
The mercury hitting 32⁰C will be hot enough for plenty of us. But it’ll also be extremely hot and uncomfortable for your pets – so make sure they are kept safe and cool, by following these tips.
- Don’t forget the 5 second rule. Place the back of your hand on the pavement / your patio for 5 seconds, if you’re not able to withstand the heat it’s too hot for your pets too – so keep them off it. If you need to walk your dogs, walk them during the cooler parts of the day – ideally before 8am or after 5pm. [source: metoffice.gov.uk]
- Dogs die in hot cars. NEVER leave your dog in the car on a hot day, even if you’re only quickly popping into the shop. Even leaving the window open slightly isn’t enough!
- Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water as well as access to shade and ventilation. It’s also advisable not to allow your pets to sit out in the strong sun.
- Don’t ignore the signs of heatstroke in your dogs. The PDSA have issued a checklist, which includes heavy panting, profuse salivation, rapid pulse, very red gums/tongue, vomiting/diarrhoea.
- If you have a light coloured pet, apply sunscreen which cannot be licked off. [theguardian.com]
With the sun out and summer here (for the week at least) get out and enjoy yourself when you can, enjoy a nice ice-cream, family BBQ and playing with your children in the paddling pool. But whilst doing this, remember to follow the tips above to stay safe and cool.