With the summer heat fast approaching, it’s important to remember to stay cool, calm and collected!
There are few things I look forward to more than the summer heat. My body naturally runs cold, and living in Ireland, it’s all we ever seem to experience. But lately, our summers have really been heating up to the point where I’ve often had to seek out lower ground in favor of a cooler night’s sleep.
While experiencing warmer weather allows us to feel brighter, it can be dangerous if we’re not careful! Excessive heat can lead to a variety of medical issues, made worse by things such as chronic health conditions, age and manual labor. And if you own animals, they too need extra care and attention during a heatwave.
Here are just ten ways you and your loved ones (be they man or beast) can stay cool this coming summer!
Ten (plus) Ways to beat the summer heat!
Stay hydrated, and keep an eye on your pee.
First and foremost it’s important that you stay hydrated. Water helps us regulate our body temperature, allowing us to stay cool even when things get heated. While any water will do, the cooler the better! This applies to everyday life, but especially during the warmer weather. And while Corr’s and your favourite cocktail may make you feel like you’re drinking enough, alcohol doesn’t count. Nor does coffee much to my distaste.
The only real way to stay hydrated is by drinking plenty of water! You can even add some diluted juice to it if you fancy, but make sure you’re getting at least eight cups a day. Or more if you’re exercising or doing manual labor.
Not sure how to keep track? No problem! Simply monitor your urine. If your pee is clear or slightly yellow, you’re getting plenty of fluids. If it’s darker and you’re not peeing as frequently, then you need to up your intake! This is also a good way to monitor any children and vulnerable adults as they’re particularly susceptible to dehydration.
Struggling to stay hydrated? Check out this post from Simply Alex Jean on eating hydrating foods! There’s more than one way to meet your water quota!
From one goth to another; ditch the black. I know it’s hard, I know it’s part of the ‘lifestyle‘ but black attracts and holds onto the heat. When the sun is at its worst it’s essential to wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing where appropriate. If you want to go the extra mile, also consider the fabrics you’re wearing. You wouldn’t wear wool to the beach in twenty-five-degree heat, right? Consider breathable fabrics instead such as cotton or linen.
Don’t forget about your pets!
Before we go any further, let’s not forget about our furry friends.They can’t sweat in the normal way, they’re covered in fur (mostly), and the ground can be hot on their little ‘toe-beans.’ Therefore it’s essential that we ensure they are kept as cool as possible by ensuring adequate shelter, the availability of fresh water and even some cold treats.
If you have a dog, be sure to alternate walking times to the coolest parts of the day, be it early morning or late night. Under no circumstances should dogs be walked at peak times such as mid-day or early afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. This can result in burns to the toe pads and exhaustion from even the smallest of walks!
As for cats, ensure they have a cool place to rest and relax. Indoor cats are more likely to be cooler than those who roam outside, but if in doubt put the windows on the latch or pop on a fan. You can also buy specific beds that are designed to keep your pets cool from your local B&M, Home Bargains or even on Amazon.
Symptoms of heat related conditions in your pet!
- Rapid panting.
- Wide eyes.
- Lots of drooling.
- Hot skin.
- Twitching muscles.
- Dazed look.
Remember to call your vet if you’re concerned about heat stroke.
Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.
This brings us nicely to my fourth point. Keep you and those your love indoors during the hottest parts of the day if at all possible. This is usually between the hours of ten in the morning and five in the afternoon. However, if you work outside, seeking shelter isn’t always feasible. In this case, it’s important you’re prepared with high SPF sun-cream, and access to cool drinking water. It’s also advised to wear a hat with a peak and neck protector, and that you use down time to stay in the shade.
Even if you’re a sun worshiper and plan on getting a tan, remember your sun protection. Protecting your skin should be your top priority to prevent the development of serious skin conditions, the most pressing of which is skin cancer.
Finally, remember to make sure your kids are well-covered! Their skin is extra sensitive, so it’s very important they have the right UV protection! Check out this blog article from Petit Peepers for more information!
Use a fan or air conditioner.
In the UK air conditioning units aren’t as commonly found within the home. We don’t need it for a vast portion of the year, and from what I can gather they can be quite expensive! But what we do have are fans! With the UK temperatures set to soar higher than ever, many will be rushing to secure a fan before they all sell out. In fact, I spotted a variety of household fans on sale as early as mid March, meaning we’re heading for a scorcher!
Finances permitted, make sure you have a fan on site in case the heat becomes too much to bear. If not for you, for your pets, the young and the elderly, all of whom are more susceptible to extreme temperatures than the average adult.
Cheaper ways to protect your home from the summer heat.
With the cost of living at an all time high, many of us will be looking for ways to reduce our monthly expenditure. Fans and air conditioning units are notorious for driving up the electric bill, so you’d be forgiven for seeking alternative means. Here are just a few.
- Close your blinds early in the morning.
- If you live in a country where heatwaves are the norm, why not invest in other ways to block the heat. This could be awning above windows and doors, or landscaping such as large trees that create shade.
- Close doors to rooms you’re not using the seal in the cool air.
- Use draft excluders around gaps in door frames.
Do you have any other ideas on how to keep your home cool? Comment below!
Take a cold shower or bath!
I’m the first person to admit that I love a hot shower. The spicier, the better! My husband often comments that my showers are like walking into the pits of hell on a summer’s day. But in the summer heat, it’s simply unbearable!
Last summer when we hit a record high of thirty degrees, I came home from work and sat on the floor of my shower in freezing cold water. I was both overwhelmed and overheated! While it was unpleasant at first, I slowly adjusted and it quickly became a normal part of my routine.
Eat light, refreshing foods.
In the summer heat I often find my appetite depletes. I no longer crave comfort foods, instead opting for ice-lollies and salads. Perhaps I’m within the minority, but I just find a heavy, carb-rich meal much too heavy when I’m already overheated!
The summer is the perfect time to experiment with salads, and the lighter foods in life. In my day job we deliberately move seasonal fruit and vegetables forward to encourage our customers to make salads. Not only is it a perfect opportunity to eat something a little more healthy, but these foods also help us feel cooler and encourage hydration.
Stay in the shade.
If you have to be outside, try and stay in the shade as much as possible. Understandably, if you’re working or walking, this can be difficult. If that is the case, ensure you’re wearing the correct sun protection and taking regular breaks in a shaded area.
Exercise in the morning or late evening.
When the sun is shining it’s often a great opportunity to get out and exercise in the heat! But be aware that the hotter the weather, the more difficult it’s going to be for your body to cope. Even if you’re an avid sun worshiper, it’s always better to exercise in the early morning or late evening to prevent heat exhaustion.
Use a spray bottle or wet towel to stay cool.
Air conditioning may not be available to everyone. Especially when outside. Instead, use a spray bottle filled with cold water or a cold towel to keep yourself cool. These items can be used if you’re simply sunbathing in your yard, or stuck in a stuffy office!
Stay informed on weather changes.
Keep a close eye on the weather forecast for your local area. These should flag up any warnings of extreme weather changes and give you the opportunity o make an informed decision.
Know your medications!
Did you know that some mental health medications can cause us to be more susceptible to overheating? Neither did I! Antipsychotics are among some of the most common to cause problems, but so can some SSRI’s, and tricyclic antidepressants. In fact, it’s good practice to research any medication you take, be it prescription or over the counter, or you can speak to a GP or a pharmacist.
But why are we more affected by the heat? They can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature, and even cause us to sweat more. So staying cool and hydrated is even more important!
When things heat up, my husband and I pull the mattress down into our seldom used living room. We bought two single mattresses just for this purpose in the summer of two-thousand-nineteen. Every year since we’ve spent at least three weeks of July or August sleeping downstairs due to the heat.
If things are getting too warm upstairs, go down! Heat rises, so naturally the top most rooms in your home are going to be the hottest.
Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
Much like everything in life, we’re all different. My tolerance to heat might be very different from yours, so it’s important you know and are able to recognise the symptoms of heat related conditions. Heat exhaustion is categorised by things like heavy sweating, sudden weakness and digestive issues. This can be treated by moving to a cooler area, taking time to rest and drinking plenty of water.
Heat stroke is far more serious! It can be categoarised by a body temperature of over thirty nine degrees, visibly red skin, a lack of sweat, a rapid pulse and confusion. Heat stroke can not be treated at home, and requires immediate medical attention! Don’t hesitate to call your national emergency number (999 or 911).