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Summer is here, and although we can experience a variety of weather in summer, the temperatures are rising. When you’ve got a home that is warm, the whole family can be impacted. It can be hard to sleep when it is too hot, and you can also start to feel a little unwell as a result. You can become dehydrated and generally irritable if you don’t take some steps to keep cool, and to keep well when there is a heatwave. So with that in mind, here is your ultimate guide to keeping cool in a heatwave, so that the whole family can stay happy, stay healthy, and stay well.
Drink plenty of water
This may seem like an obvious one, but it is surprising just how many people don’t up their water intake when the weather is warm. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you should keep drinking. One thing to check on, especially for yourselves and for your children, is to keep an eye on the colour of urine. If it is dark, then you need to drink a lot more water. Urine should be pale yellow or even clear, in order to show that you are hydrated enough. One of the best things that you can do to make sure that you drink a lot, but have some cold water ready to drink, is to freeze some plastic water bottles filled with water. The water will melt from ice throughout the day, but it will still be cold. Plus, having a water bottle can help you remind you to keep drinking.
It can be tempting to reach for fizzy drinks as well as a cheeky alcoholic drink to enjoy in the sun. Although this can be fine occasionally, when it really is warm, you should avoid too many sugary drinks or alcohol altogether. They can dehydrate you, leaving you feeling worse than before. If you’re going to have one, at least have some water to drink alongside.
Keep your body cool
Drinking cool drinks will help you to be able to keep cool. But it is also important to think about eating cold food, such as fruit, raw vegetables, and salad. If you eat goods that are too warm, then your body has to work extra hard to cool its temperature, as your temperature, especially the temperature of your skin, will already be raised. The clothing that you wear can make a difference too. Light, loose fitting, and airy clothing is best, and choose natural materials like linen or cotton.
If you have children especially, it is important to stay out of the sun, especially at the peak of the day. If you do go outside, though, then make sure that you have sunscreen on, and that you are covered up with a hat and sunglasses, for example. Some people get headaches from being out in the sun, and even have to take sumatriptan for migraines as a result of overheating and being exposed to too much sun. So that is something to bear in mind. When you’re trying to get to sleep, nothing is worse than being too hot. Have a cold shower before bed, to bring your temperature down. You could also use cold towels on your next, or perhaps a frozen water bottle to help to cool you down.
Keep your house cool
As well as keeping yourself and your children cool, it is a must to be able to keep your home as cool as possible too. One simple thing that you can do is to keep curtains or blinds closed, as they can block the light coming that can normally heat up the room. At night, opening windows can be a good idea, as it can help to let some cooler air in. There won’t be many of us that have air conditioning for our homes, so if you really feel the need to cool down, heading to a supermarket or other shop with AC can make a difference, giving you some much needed respite.
It is hard to imagine that many people would want to cook on a stove in a heatwave, but it is a good idea to avoid if possible. This can heat the kitchen, as well as you, which can feel most unpleasant in hot temperatures and an already warm house.
After the heat has passed
As we can experience some really hot days, then a humid day, and then a rainy day, all in the same week, it is a good idea to know what to do after you’ve experienced a heatwave. The impact of heat and the sun can linger, so having some ideas to help is a must. It is still so important to make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids. This is so that your body can get back to normal and restore balance. If you need some more time to sleep, because of interrupted sleep in the heat, then take a nap or whatever you need (where possible with children, of course).
If you do start to feel unwell, then seek medical advice as soon as possible. Heatstroke can occur even after the fact. It is also a good time to evaluate what you have done that did make a difference, and what you might avoid. For instance, if you liked the idea of sunbathing to get a good tan in the middle of the day, but then you’ve felt unwell for a couple of days afterwards, then will it be worth it next time? Just something to think about. Connecting with your family and friends can also be a good idea, as some may need some help after a heatwave.
Taking some sensible steps in a heatwave can really impact how well you are able to cope. It is all about common sense really, such as avoiding the sun in the middle of the day, and avoiding food or places that are going to make you warmer. It would be great to hear what you think.
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