How to keep your cool this summer

Summer is almost upon us, and hopefully it will bring some much anticipated warmer weather to the UK. Sunny days, warmer temperatures, and lighter evenings tend to put us all in a good mood, and many of us socialise a lot more during the summer months. However, summer often means that there are several heat waves, during which the UK experiences higher than average temperatures, often in the high 20s of even into the 30°C or more.

High temperatures of this nature can potentially be dangerous for vulnerable people in society. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with long term health conditions tend to be more susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion during a heat wave, so it’s vital that they stay cool.

Here are a few ways in which you can beat the heat this summer…

  • Keep your curtains closed: It may be tempting to open your curtains and let the sun into your home, but it’s actually much more beneficial to keep your curtains drawn during the day. If the sun streams into your home it will begin to raise the temperature and make the room feel stuffy and stifling. Keep your curtains or blinds closed to prevent the sun’s rays from entering your home.
  • Keep your windows closed: When the weather heats up many people throw their windows open to let fresh air in, thinking that it will cool them down. On a hot, still day the air is warm, so letting it into your home will only increase the temperature inside further. It’s much better to keep your windows closed during the day and open them a little at night when the temperature drops.
  • Use a fan: Invest in a fan or two and use them inside your home to blow the air around for a cooling effect. For an even more cooling effect, place a bowl of ice carefully in front of the fan; the ice cool the air around it, and the fan then distributes this cool air.
  • Spritz yourself with water: Your body cools itself down naturally by sweating, so spraying yourself with water emulates its natural cooling mechanism. Sweat or water on your skin’s surface evaporates and draws the heat away from you. You can also achieve this effect by wetting a cotton t-shirt and wearing it; as it dries and the water evaporates it should help you to feel cooler.
  • Wear suitable clothing: It’s important to dress appropriately for the weather during a heat wave. Wear loose clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton or linen, this will let the air circulate next to your skin and keep you cool. Tight clothing traps in your body heat and can make you feel much warmer than necessary. Wearing a hat, ideally made from cotton or straw, can help to keep the sun off your head, which helps to prevent heat stroke.
  • Stay hydrated: During a heat wave you will be sweating more in order to cool down, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke, so ensure that you drink plenty of water. Foods such as ice lollies, fruit, and salad can also contribute to your hydration too if you don’t want to drink litres and litres of water.
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