Five Tips on Handling the Summer Heat
Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. We all love it as the weather starts to warm up, but when it stops being just warm and move to scorching and uncomfortable, then we long for cooler temperatures again. And it’s not just excessive sweat that can make this a difficult time – there are potential health issues as well as people become dehydrated and suffer from heat stroke. Here are some tips to help you cope better with the summer heat.
1. If You Can’t Stand the Heat …
There’s a reason that people in hot countries have siestas and mid-afternoon breaks. It’s because it’s way too hot to do anything. When the temperature is at its highest, you’re better off inside. Keep out of the sunlight and stay in your air-conditioned office or home office. Gravitate to the coolest part of the building. If you must go out, then go to places that have shelter and air conditioning, like the mall. Don’t forget sunscreen.
One of the stupidest things I ever did was walk up a hill in Spain when the temperature was 113 degrees without even a bottle of water. OK, so I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to get water en route, nor did I know how hot it was, but even so I was lucky to avoid heatstroke. When it’s this hot, it’s more important than ever to drink lots of fluid – water, fruit juice or vegetable juice – because you lose a lot of the body’s fluid when you perspire. It’s best to avoid liquor and drinks with a high caffeine or salt content as these will dehydrate you further.
3. The Right Clothes
Unless you have a particular need to impress someone with your natty suit, don’t bother. Wear something loose fitting so that air can circulate and sweat can evaporate. Make sure that it’s light colored so it reflects the heat instead of absorbing it. If you have ever worn black clothing in 100 degrees plus weather, you will know the feeling of heating up like a frankfurter in a toaster oven – so make sensible clothing choices when the weather is hottest.
4. Cool Your Body
Showers and baths are your friend in the heat – take lots of them. Not only will you smell better, but your body will be cooler and your skin will absorb moisture.
5. Look Out for Danger Signs
Finally, be alert for signs that the heat is getting the better of you. If you start to feel nauseous, dizzy, tired, feverish, confused or headachy for no apparent reason, visit your doctor to make sure you’re not getting heat stroke or suffering from heat exhaustion.
More information, including a heat wave safety checklist, is available from the Red Cross.