Early August 2020 has been sweltering: temperatures reaching 34c heat is horrific to many of us Brits. It’s well known that air conditioning or Mediterranean tiling is not a common installation in British homes, so quite frankly, we have been suffering. With a rising climate worldwide, we can expect to see a heatwave like this at least once a year.
There are key medical dangers of a heatwave: heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Although I’ve been struggling, I’ve been able to implement a few of these hacks over the week, keeping myself (and my very furry dog) alive and safe from a hospital visit.
1. Stay indoors
Mammals in the wild seek shelter during a heatwave, so it’s only sensible that we do too. Aside from the risks of UV exposure, in the UK, we don’t generally have the facilities to be able to keep our bodies cool outside. We need to take a leaf out of the Spanish book and take siestas.
There are also ways to cool your home. Opening doors and windows can create a through draught which cools and ventilates your home. If you keep curtains closed but for a gap to allow the air through, you could create a home a few degrees cooler than your neighbours.
Of course, we all want to go outside and bask in the sun, but keeping a cool, dark home might be the thing that keeps you from heatstroke.
2. Invest in a fan
A fan is useful to use in conjunction with the tips above. If you’re anything like me, you leave it until the heatwave hits before you try to buy anything that might ease the suffering. Don’t! As the summer months begin to approach, start looking at fans.
We have a Moretti fan, which is quite powerful, and I don’t know how I would survive without it. Desktop fans simply aren’t strong enough to push the air around. If you can, invest in more than one fan – one for the bedroom, and at least one for your most used room in the house.
3. Sensible clothing
Wearing loose, light clothing can help lower your body temperature and prevent heatstroke. The clothing catches your sweat but does not stick to you, allowing you to cool down. Fabrics like cotton and linen are the best to wear, while man-made fabrics can cause you to become hotter.
Also, aim to sleep in loose clothing, and without a duvet in the night, to help prevent dehydration and heatstroke while asleep.
4. Have a cool shower
A cool shower, not a cold one, is excellent for lowering your body temperature. If you love the rush of cold water on holiday, a cool shower gives you exactly the same sensation. If it is a particularly hot day, and is looking to be a ‘tropical night’, a cool shower before bed is a great idea.
A top tip is to ease into a cool shower. Start warm, then lower the temperature gradually, so you don’t risk putting your body into shock.
5. Cold water foot bath
Your feet and wrists are key areas of the body to regulate heat. It’s the reason we sit on the edge of a pool while on holiday! Recreate the experience by filling a bucket of cool water (again, not cold) and dipping your feet in it. You’ll notice your body temperature starts to drop, and you might notice that you seem to stop sweating for a moment.
You can also use ice cubes and ice packs – like the one’s you’d put in a kid’s lunch box – to cool down too. Hold them on your wrists for a few minutes at a time.
All of these hacks are great for preventing heatstroke and heat exhaustion, but the most important thing for you to do is to drink water throughout the day. Only regular water intake can prevent dehydration, and remember, dehydration can be deadly. Drink water now!
Hopefully, you’ll find that these little heatwave hacks help you. If you have any other top tips, leave a comment!