Lifestyle

How to Survive a Heat Wave & Keep Your Cool

survive-heat-wave

Phew, that is some hot weather we are experiencing! Not complaining but sometimes it is a bit overwhelming and it can be downright dangerous in some cases. This is why we need to be vigilant so as not get overheated and dehydrated. I have put together a list of 15 ways on how to survive a heat wave and keep your cool in that sweltering summer weather –

1 Have plenty of water stocked up in the fridge to keep it cool. Use bottled water or fill jugs and store them there. If you use one then replace it and also, if you plan on heading out for a long period of time, it is a good idea to freeze a couple of large bottles to take with you on your trip out. Bring a couple of cold bottles and a couple of frozen bottles in a cooler bag or plastic bag and keep them stored in a dark place such as in the car or a thicker fabric bag to avoid them getting warm quickly. When you want to thaw the frozen bottles, just leave them out or let them thaw naturally depending on the amount of time you plan on being out. If you need to defrost in a hurry you can always leave them out in the hot sun or else run them under hot water.

2 Have a fan. A fan can be a saviour in the heat if you don’t have the luxury of air conditioning. A hand held fan can also be a life-saver when out and about in the hot summer heat. They are especially good for keeping a baby cool and you can buy ones that attach to a pram for ease of use. While I would advise having a fan for a baby, you need to only use it as a temporary precaution as babies are prone to overheating so keeping a baby cool and hydrated with plenty of shade are more important. Another precaution is not to have it blowing too close to the babies face so that they don’t catch their breath. You should never cover a babies pram with a towel as it is dangerous. Use a proper universal mesh pram cover if you don’t already have a sun cover attachment for your pram. They are made of a breathable mesh fabric and are safe. You can buy them in most baby shops where they sell prams.

3 Dress appropriately for the weather by wearing loose-fitting natural fibres like cotton, linen, bamboo, hemp or similar breathable fabrics as opposed to tight-fitting non breathable clothing. Short sleeves and shorts make a clever choice. Darker colours should be avoided as they attract the sun. Wear breathable footwear also and ditch the socks as your feet will sweat.

a heat wave preperation kit - summer essentials

4 Wear factor 50 SPF sunscreen and re-apply it regularly, as per the instructions on the label. It is advisable to wear a sun hat also. Save your eyes by wearing sunglasses – the best kind are the ones which cover the sides of your eyes too. 

5 Use a car windscreen sunshade on your car while its parked in the sun wherever you go or outside your house. Keep a cooler bag or box in your car for holding cold drinks and anything perishable. Especially handy for when you do your grocery shopping in the heat. Put window shades on the back seat windows also if you have people in the back seat.

6 Close the shutters on your windows if you have them or pull the curtains/blinds. This will minimise the sunlight and heat coming in to your house as much as possible. Blackout blinds are a great choice. If you don’t have anything on your windows just use a dark coloured blanket or sheet with thumb tacks or similar as a makeshift blind. 

7 When eating, choose light snacks rather than heavy meals. It will be easier to digest and your body requires less energy to burn. Choosing a light salad over a heavy meal will help avoid overheating. It is best to avoid salty foods as they can be dehydrating. Fruits are a good choice and cold food rather than hot food is a better option.

8 Avoid fizzy drinks and juice as they will make you feel thirstier. Best stick to the water. Tea and coffee as well as other hot beverages are best consumed whilst indoors out of the heat. 

9 If you are having trouble sleeping due to the heat, you could fill a hot water bottle with cool water and take it to bed with you. Use a light cotton sheet or muslin blanket instead of a heavier duvet or blanket. To cool down your pillow you could place the cold hot water bottle on it for a while before getting into bed.

10 Turn on the air conditioning in your car a few minutes before getting into it. Leave it running while you get ready and it’ll be nice and cool when you get in. You can do the same for your home air conditioning if you put it on a timer or set up IFTT via your smart phone to turn it on ahead of arrival.

man exhausted from the heat slumped over in car

11 Stay indoors as much as possible and keep checking the weather reports. Check on your loved ones, especially the more vulnerable such as elderly, small children and babies. Watch out for signs of overheating such as dehydration, excess sweating, redness, leg or muscle cramps, heat rash, pain or spasms, exhaustion, headache, nausea, dizziness, clammy skin and lack of co-ordination. If you suspect someone is overheating, help them by giving them water, offer a cool shower and check their temperature. If you are worried they are suffering from heatstroke then call emergency services. Symptoms include any of the above and an inability to cool down. Other symptoms include dry skin, shallow breathing, seizures, confusion and irritability. A fever is anything above 40°C or 104°F. Keep them cool with cold damp towels and ice packs until emergency services arrive. Place them near ventilation such as a fan or air conditioning unit.

13 Check on your neighbours and see if they have anyone to look after them and keep checking on them, especially if they are elderly. Offer to do their shopping or help with any of the above if they don’t have anyone close by. Call the police if you are worried they are not ok. They will come around and check on them or locate them if you are worried for their safety.

14 Keep your pets indoors and give them plenty of water. Excess drooling and panting are signs of overheating. Fast breathing and heart rate are over signs. Keep them cool by removing them from the heat and putting them in a cool shaded area. 

15 If you are sunburned, use an aftersun lotion to ease the discomfort. You can use some frozen peas or ice packs on areas worst affected. Stay out of the sun and be careful to cover up the area when out and about. If you are worried about it, speak to a doctor or someone at the chemist for further relief. Aloe vera is fantastic and also coconut oil. Fresh aloe vera works best straight from the leaves but if you haven’t got access to a plant, then buy a tube of it and keep it in the fridge. Re-apply regularly throughout the day for quicker healing.

aloe vera gel

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A HEATWAVE SURVIVAL GUIDE

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