This summer we’ve already experienced some soaring temperatures in Britain, with thermometers reaching 36 degrees – setting a new record.
It is essential to take extra precautions in these sorts of weather conditions to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion, both of which are far more common and easier to contract than you may think. As always, make sure elderly relatives, babies and toddlers are adequately shaded from the sun and don’t become dehydrated, as they will be the first to suffer from extreme conditions.
As this is an El Nino year, there could well be unpredictable temperatures ahead, so whether you’re staying on UK shores or jetting off to a timeshare resort in a hotter continent, here’s a list of simple things that you can do to stay safe in the sun this summer:
Avoid the hotspots: We should all stay out of direct sunlight when the sun is at its strongest. Broadly speaking, this is between 11am and 3pm, so make sure you seek shade or stay inside during these hours. Similarly, watch out when you are out out and about in your car, as the inside temperature can rise by 11 degrees in 10 minutes when left in the sun – something to bear in mind if you’ve left a passenger in the car while you’re doing a quick supermarket shop, for example.
Avoid sunburn: Sunburn is extremely damaging to our skin and health so do take precautions to make sure you are protected. The easiest way to prevent sunburn it to wear lightweight clothing and apply sun cream – SPF30 or higher, ideally – to exposed areas, making sure you cover areas such as the ears and neck that are often forgotten. It is a wise idea to wear a hat in direct sunlight to prevent both burn and sun stroke, too. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses and wear them at all times in bright sunshine to protect your eyes.
Cool down: Heat exhaustion is very common so to steer clear seek cooler temperatures for just a few hours a day. Head to areas that are air conditioned such as a supermarket or find indoor activities to do while the sun is at its hottest
Wear loose fitting clothing: Make sure your body is “vented” and getting as much fresh air as possible by wearing light, loose clothing. Wearing dark or tight clothing prevents your body from expelling the heat it needs to and can prevent essential sweating!
Drink lots of water: Drinking water is absolutely essential in higher temperatures to help your body function and remain cool. We perspire more in warmer weather so we need to replace these lost fluids to maintain our normal body temperature. It’s easy to become very ill if you aren’t drinking enough so make sure you sip on 2-3 litres throughout the day remembering that alcohol and caffeine are both dehydrating.
Acclimate to the heat: It can take our bodies several weeks to get used to higher temperatures and humidity so be aware of this. Don’t throw yourself into any arduous work or physical exercise when you’re in a hotter climate, instead take it slow to begin with to see how your body copes with this new environment – it could take a few days to get used to the temperatura.