Summers in the UK can be temperamental, with sizzling summers to wicked winters. Almost every summer, there is a deadly heat wave in some parts of the country and it is important as we grow older that we know how to deal with this. Our ability to lose heat and dehydrate speeds up as we age. So it’s important to keep the balance between being too hot and too cold. Whilst hot summers are a great rarity in Britain, and as soon the sun appears we are all outside – therefore it’s important we get relief from the heat and sun rays.
- Drink plenty of liquids
Being exposed to extreme heat can leave you feeling dehydrated, confused and susceptible to accidents. This is because when you get hot you tend to lose lots of fluid through urine and sweat. If not replaced, it can then lead to serious problems such as heat strokes, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day and try to stay away from alcohol and caffeine, to avoid any medical issues. A tip would be to fill up some water bottles and put them in the freezer overnight, so you have cool water for the next day!
- Avoid crowded areas
Try and plan trips outside of rush-hour, this is to avoid over crowded areas that could prevent you from resting somewhere due to the masses of people. If you are attending a special event then it should be carefully planned. Getting there early during a heat wave is the best way to beat the heat and crowds. Also check if there are ‘cooling points’ where there could be air-conditioning and shade. If you are out and about spend time in shade between 11am and 3pm, as this is when it is hottest during the day.
- Hot houses
Air conditioning can be expensive and not easily accessible to all. So, a cheap choice to cool your house could be to head downstairs (if you have another floor) this is because heat rises and it will be cooler the lower you get. Another way to substitute an air-conditioning unit, would be to open all your windows but cover your windows with shades, curtains or blinds during the hottest part of the day. Or you could go out to a place that has air conditioning like a public library, shopping mall, movies or a friend’s house. You could always invest in a fan, to keep the air circulating around the room and provide a nice cool breeze. These are available online and in stores, there are many different styles and types – you will be spoilt for choice!
- Over dressing and under dressing
Dress for the weather. Avoid dark coloured clothes and certain materials. Cotton clothes may feel cooler on your skin, white is always a good colour to wear as it reflects sunlight. Loose fitting clothes are another way to keep cool, this is because it is airy and therefore makes your skin feel cooler. Covering your head with a hat, wearing sun glasses to protect your eyes and using sun cream is also beneficial! If you are prone to forgetting things, leave your sunglasses and sun cream in your handbag or backpack so you don’t forget them!
- Protect your skin!
As you grow older, your skin becomes thinner, loses fat and no longer looks as smooth as it used to. The sun can contribute to age spots, wrinkles, dryness and even cancer. In order to protect yourself use a sun cream which has SPF15 or more. The higher the SPF the more protected you are. During a heat wave, your skin can become very dry and in order to prevent this, moisturise your skin. Some moisturisers even have SPF which would do two jobs at once! Although it is urged to protect you skin with SPF, it is important that we are exposed to some sun, without sun cream, in order to keep our vitamin D levels healthy. There are also Vitamin D supplements, which the government recommends for those who do not like to go out in the sun.