When the UK experiences a heatwave, three things usually happen. Firstly, the newspapers headlines follow a trend along the lines of “Phew, What a Scorcher!” and “Britain Bakes!” Secondly, the temperature highs are inevitably followed by a period of cloud, rain and storms. Thirdly, hospital admittances for heat-related conditions go up. People are caught unawares and many simply ignore health advice for enjoying the sunshine. Here is how you make the most of the sun and remain healthy.
Daytime is the period when you’re most in danger from the heat. It’s always warmer in the day than at night. Whether working or on a day off, be sure to follow these tips for your active daytime.
Drink Plenty of Fluid
We rarely expect temperatures in the UK to rise as high as they do in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Tunisia – to name some of our favourite holiday destinations, but they do. You should always take water with you, just as you would on holiday (even just going to the beach).
Stay out of the Midday Sun
If you can help it, keep out of the sun during the hottest time of the day. During the week, this will mean your lunch break when at work. By all means, enjoy the sunshine but limit the amount of time you are exposed to the sun. When at home at the weekend or a day off, stay indoors for a while; enjoy the morning sunshine and later in the afternoon instead.
Our heads are exposed to the sun the most. Balding men often forget to put sun cream on their head and sweat will often wash it away. Whether bald or a full head of hair, male or female, you should ideally wear a hat. These not only protect the scalp from burning, they provide shade for the face too.
We live a fast-paced life but most of the time it’s not necessary. Even fit and healthy people feel their core body temperature rise during a heatwave. If you’re used to walking or otherwise moving at a certain pace, take care and slow down a little. Take regular breaks – amble rather than march.
Poor quality sleep can make us irritable; it also makes us lose concentration. Although heat can make you feel sleepy, when it’s too hot you’ll struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Use a Fan
A good quality fan will bring the temperature down, helping you sleep better. Don’t put it on too high though – they can be noisy for starters and there is a risk of a burnout too. Keep it on a low to medium setting and the temperature will come down and stay there. Don’t point it in one direction, allow it to turn.
Don’t Sleep Naked
Contrary to popular belief that sleeping naked will help keep you cool, studies have shown that it can be counterproductive. Wear loose-fitting cotton as this fabric can wick away sweat from you, not only keeping you cool but dry too. When naked, you run the risk of your extremities feeling could while the rest of you is too warm. Clothes can regulate your temperature.
Keep Windows and Doors Open
In winter, you will naturally keep the windows closed to keep the heat in. You may have your own reasons for closing your bedroom door – privacy from others or the need to feel protected if you live alone or as a couple. A bedroom’s temperature rises with body heat and breathing. To bring the temperature down, don’t just open your windows but your bedroom door too. This will keep fresh air circulating through the night.