It's summertime, which means beer gardens, yummy
BBQ recipes, and queuing for a ridiculously long time to get into a lido. Right now, the UK is in the midst of a serious heatwave. On Friday Jul. 8, the Met Office announced that a Level Three Heat Health Alert had been issued for the following week. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to learn how to stay cool during a heatwave.
Climate changes means that we are likely to experience longer and more intense heatwaves each year, but plenty of people remain woefully unaware of the risks involved. Older people, children, and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to be affected by the change in temperature. For example, the
chances of heatstroke become much higher. This is when you become too dehydrated and your body temperature rises due to being out in the sun or in hot temperatures.
Matthew Killick, director of Crisis Response and Community Resilience at the British Red Cross, notes: “In England alone,
there were more than 2,500 excess deaths in the summer of 2020, and unfortunately it’s predicted that heat-related deaths in the UK could treble within 30 years.”
Since staying cool and safe is our top priority through the hotter-than-average weather, here are some TikTok hacks, and expert advice, on how to stay comfortable in a scorching heatwave.
Deck out your home with cooling pads
This TikTok shows how a crate cooling mat, which is supposed to be for pets, can work just as well for humans. While the man initially bought them to use in bed, the woman in the video later had a lightbulb moment when she realised they can used in the car. Considering that this clip has already received almost 75k likes, run, don’t walk, to your nearest B&M.
Know how to properly use your electric fan
According to the American Red Cross, using an electric fan when the indoor temperature is at 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (that’s 35 degrees Celsius for us folks across the pond) is a no-go. Apparently this may cause your body to
gain heat, instead of cooling down. Earthopia has also shared that the optimal placement for electric fans is in corners, where the air in a room is the coolest. For an extra blast of a cool breeze, place a bowl of ice cubes directly in front of it. We’re here for this air-con on a budget. Keep your arms and legs cold Keeping your pulse points cold can aid in making you feel cooler. Try putting ice packs or cold water on your wrist, the inside of your elbows, behind the knees, and neck. In a statement sent to Bustle UK, home management service Hoppy suggests that keeping your extremities (hands and feet) cold will help cool your blood down quickly which will then be pumped throughout the rest of your body. The windows: To close or not to close?
There's an age-old debate on whether to keep your windows open or closed during exceptionally hot weather. The answer is both. While it’s tempting to throw open the windows and doors at all hours to tempt in a lick of breeze, that could make things worse by letting in hot air.
@djneilmack tells us to close all the windows and shut all the blinds or curtains to keep the sunlight out and not let in the warm air outside. Meanwhile, the NHS
suggests shutting the windows and pulling down the blinds when it's hotter outside, then opening the windows for ventilation when it's cooler. Take care of your skin
We all found out in primary school that the skin is the largest organ in the human body, so it only makes sense that we should take good care of it. If you get sunburnt even with the application of SPF, after-care is also going to be important. Victoria Evans, education manager at
Dermalogica, tells Bustle UK that heavy creams and oil-based formulas can actually trap heat, so make sure to use gel-based after-sun products.
She also warns that while you may be tempted to use menthol-based lotions because it provides that cooling, tingling sensation, it is actually a rather stimulating ingredient, so do avoid menthol. Instead, opt for ingredients with soothing and hydrating skin benefits, such as hyaluronic acid, algae extract, cucumber, chamomile, clove, oats, lavender, and — everyone’s favourite after sun ingredient — aloe vera.
Freeze everything that can be frozen
@chronicallyjenni shows us how her freezer is stuffed to the brim with cooling gadgets such as the ReLeafpack (a soft, flexible ice pack), an ice roller, and a headache halo. Hot water bottles can also be repurposed for summer by filling it just halfway and freezing. Jenni herself uses these items for relief of chronic illness symptoms, but they can most certainly also be used simply to cool down.
Stay hydrated at all times
Obviously, a cold bevy or an ice-cream go hand-in-hand with hot weather, but water is key to fight off dehydration. Being in the sun too long can cause dehydration, with babies, children, and the elderly being more at risk. Lena Jüngst, co-founder of smell-based drinking technology
air up, told Bustle UK that 45% of Brits only drink one glass of water a day — a very concerning trend, to say the least.
The NHS says
symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty, dizzy, or light headed and having dark yellow wee. Keep a bottle of water with you and make sure you’re sipping it throughout the day. And try to avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which only dehydrates you further. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep
Drifting off to sleep in sticky weather can be tough, especially as home air conditioning isn't that common in the UK. In a statement sent to Bustle UK, Mahmuda Khatun, medical expert at Instant eCare, says that having a cool shower just before you go to bed can help reduce your temperature.
Elsewhere, Steve Adams, CEO of
Mattress Online, tells Bustle UK that bamboo bedding is a much more breathable and moisture-wicking material than cotton, and also has the benefit of being a naturally hypoallergenic fabric. He also suggests placing your pillowcase or your PJs in a clean plastic bag and leaving it in the freezer for 15 minutes before bed — a strange but effective solution. Here is @amylouisephillips demonstrating this hack.
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This article was originally published on
July 23, 2019