Health and Wellbeing
Our Top Tips for Staying Cool in Hot Weather
The UK has been hit by soaring temperatures recently, and many of us have been enjoying the sunny weather.
However, not everyone welcomes the hot days of summer.
For some people, high temperatures can feel uncomfortable. Warm weather can affect our sleep, leave us feeling lethargic, and can even pose health risks.
The main risks include dehydration, overheating, and heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Are you at risk?
Everyone feels the heat differently, but some people are more vulnerable to high temperatures than others.
If you are aged 75 or over, or have a serious chronic condition like a heart or breathing problem, your risk level increases.
The same goes for those with mobility problems or long-term health problems. For instance, individuals with Parkinson's may experience excessive sweating as a symptom. This is known as hyperhidrosis, and can contribute to dehydration.
Certain medications can also increase your risk, particularly if your medication affects how much you sweat or your ability to regulate your temperature.
Staying cool inside
While there isn't a lot you can do about the temperature outside, there are ways to keep your home cool and comfortable.
It's the hottest day of the year so far! Here are some tips on how to beat the heat: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/ #heatwave pic.twitter.com/UT7SVaCbCZ
— NHS Choices (@NHSChoices) 26 June 2018
It's a good idea to open windows and doors in order to ventilate your home, but remember to close the blinds or curtains afterwards. This will help keep the indoor temperature down and prevent your home from overheating.
If you do want to keep the curtains open and let the sun in, try and keep one room dark so you have somewhere to retreat to if you start to feel overheated.
Getting a good night's sleep
Sleeping can be a challenge when it's hot.
If your bedroom is upstairs and is too warm to allow you to sleep, trying sleeping downstairs. Heat rises, so if your home is split across more than one floor, you may be more comfortable on the lower floor.
If getting enough sleep is something you regularly struggle with in the summer, it may be worth considering a rise and recline chair.
Taking a cool - not cold! - shower or bath before you go to bed can also help lower your body temperature overnight.
Keeping yourself healthy
It's important to stay hydrated in hot weather. The NHS recommends drinking cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. It's also a good idea to avoid excess alcohol and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you further.
If you need to cool down quickly, try holding ice cubes against your wrists and feet, or running them under cool water. This will help bring your body temperature down, as the blood vessels in these areas are close to the surface of your skin.
Placing ice cubes in front of your fan is also a good way to cool down the air in the room and regulate your temperature.
Finally, avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day, which is between 11am and 3pm. If you do have to leave the house, wear loose cotton clothing and don't forget your sun hat and sun glasses.
It's not just humans that are affected by the heat...
Don't forget to keep an eye on your pets during the hot weather!
They can overheat too, so make sure there's plenty of water and shade available to them.
You could even take a leaf out of Bristol Zoo's book. They've been providing ice cubes and ice lollies to help their animals stay cool.
Our lemurs are enjoying their fruity ice lollies, helping them to stay nice and cool in the heat ☀️ pic.twitter.com/UeiowD99IG
Bristol Zoo Gardens (@BristolZooGdns) 28 June 2018