'Cool' - family with sparklers

Knowing how to stay cool in warm weather is important as many of us struggle when temperatures increase.

Due to global warming our summers are becoming hotter and longer in duration so tips to stay cool are increasingly relevant. From the clothes we wear, to the food and drink we consume we can incorporate small changes during our day to help keep us cool.

9 Top Hacks for Staying Cool

Here are 9 top tips for staying cool in a heatwave:

  1. Use wet face cloths, ice cubes or water spray atomisers to squirt cold water onto your skin.
  2. Wear loose fitting, light cotton clothes.
  3. Keep drinking cold drinks throughout the day and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  4. Create shade across windows to keep your home cool or close the curtains or shutters.
  5. Turn off appliances that generate heat when they are not needed.
  6. Swap cooking hot food and switch to salads and sandwiches and other light meals.
  7. Plan your trips to avoid being out in the peak of the summer sun when possible.
  8. Exercise early in the morning when the temperatures are lower.
  9. Seek shade and carry your own parasols or wear a sun hat.

What to wear in a heat wave?

Woman being splashed by water

Choosing an outfit that is loose fitting and a light colour is the best option for keeping cool in a heat wave. Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, are excellent because they are more breathable compared to man-made fibers and absorb perspiration. They are also better for the environment because synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, are made from oil. Each time these clothes are washed they release micro-plastics into the water causing plastic pollution in the sea. Hence natural fabrics are better for you and the planet.

Other tips are to wear sandals that are comfortable rather than shoes and socks as this will reduce your feet from swelling so much in the heat.

In the summer months, the UK is closer to the sun than in winter hence, it is easier to burn in a short period of time, especially if there are no clouds in the sky. If you are in the direct sun for a long period it is best to wear long-sleeved clothes as these provide a barrier from the strong ultra violet (UV) light. Sun cream with a high sun-protection factor (SPF) is essential to prevent damage and protect your skin from premature aging as well as reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

Another essential is a wide-brimmed hat or a sun parasol. Parasols are very common in countries that are used to hot weather as they create shade while you are out and about. Some sun parasols have a coating to reduce the amount of UV that goes through. However, a standard umbrella can also help to keep you cool in the heat.

Can hot drinks help to cool me down?

This does sound strange but hot drinks can apparently help us to cool down.  A cup of tea makes the body work harder to reduce our core temperature so we sweat more. However, this only works if the sweat our glands produces can evaporate. If you are already sweating then this trick may not work.

A more fun approach therefore, is to use a water spray on your face or even ice cubes under your arm pits. Water evaporating off your skin helps to reduce your temperature so water helps us to feel lovely and cool. Spray atomiser bottles are available from pharmacies or the big ones used to keep plants moist are from garden centers. These bottles can be refilled regularly unlike aerosol canisters sold in shops.

How to sleep well in a heat wave

Bed in a white room with ceiling fan and patio doors

Struggling to sleep at night in the heat is no fun and also makes us feel drowsier the next day.  Therefore, keeping your home as cool as possible is essential.

Options for a good night’s sleep in the warm weather include:

  • Ditch the duvet and just use a single sheet.
  • Use cotton bed sheets.
  • Take a tepid but not freezing cold shower before bed.
  • Wear minimal night clothes in bed.
  • Hot air rises so if you live in a town house or have an attic conversion you may find the down stairs rooms are more comfortable and children may love the adventure!
  • Open windows and create a through draft at night.

Heat stroke and the dangers of dehydration

Finally, staying cool and hydrated is really important to avoid heat exhaustion. If you have friends or neighbours who are more vulnerable it is worth checking on them to make sure they don’t suffer from dehydration or heat stroke.  If someone is unwell and hot, it is best to try and cool them down and call for medical assistance if they do not improve.

Warm sunny days are great but to keep comfortable wearing loose clothing, drinking lots of water and avoiding the strong sun when possible are key. If you have other top tips for staying cool in the heat wave please let us know?

 

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