Top tips to stay cool in the heat

Staying cool in the summer

As temperatures continue to rise, it is important to stay cool as much as possible.

Below are some of the best ways to stay cool in the heat:

1. Stay hydrated

This may seem like an obvious one, but sometimes drinking plenty of water can get overlooked.

Cool down from the inside out by staying hydrated with plenty of fluids. It’s recommended that you drink between 1.5 and 2 litres per day.

According to the NHS, taking cool baths or showers will also help you keep cool.

2. Avoid alcohol

Drinking alcohol in the intense heat, as well as tea and coffee, which act as diuretics can cause dehydration.

3. Pyjamas in the freezer

During the day, place your pillow case or your pyjamas in the freezer. Take them out before going to bed. This should hopefully cool you down and help you sleep better.

Throughout the day wearing loose, cooling clothes and lighter coloured clothes will also help keep you cooler.

4. Flannels

Sticking a flannel in the freezer can be especially refreshing to place on your forehead as you lie in bed.

5. Turn the fan on

Fans can help your body regulate its internal temperature - and sticking a pan of ice cubes in front of it can make the circulating air even cooler.

If you haven't got one handy, fill a hot water bottle with cold water instead.

6. Get rid of the duvet

Thin cotton sheets will absorb sweat and are more comfortable than duvets.

Your body temperature will begin falling during the night - so hopefully you won't feel warm and uncomfortable for too long.

7. How to sleep better at night

It can be all too easy to start feeling annoyed and exasperated when you're struggling to sleep.

The best thing to do is to try and distract yourself with a relaxing activity such as reading - and try going back to bed when you're tired.

Avoid the temptation to go on your phone, as this activity can stimulate you.

8. Close the windows

While it might seem counterintuitive, keeping windows closed and drawing the blinds during the peak heat will keep rooms cooler.

Open windows for ventilation when it is cooler outside.

9. Avoid the sun at peak times

It is all too tempting to stay out in the sun, but you should avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, which is usually between 11am and 3pm. Make sure you have sun cream, even if you aren’t prone to burning. Apply at least SPF15 with UVA protection.

10. Put ice on your pulse points

Applying ice to the wrists and side of the neck can help to lower body heat as the blood vessels in those areas are close to the skin's surface.

Look out for the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency.

Check for signs of heat exhaustion

The signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • A headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast breathing or pulse
  • A high temperature of 38C or above
  • Being very thirsty

The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down.

Things you can do to cool someone down

If someone has heat exhaustion, follow these five steps:

  • Move them to a cool place
  • Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly
  • Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are okay
  • Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too
  • Stay with them until they're better

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

How to spot the signs of heatstroke

There are some mild symptoms of heatstroke that you may be able to spot, these are:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headiness
  • Lack of sweating, despite the heat
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either very strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing

There are several ways to help prevent heatstroke

  • Drink plenty of cold drinks
  • Take a cool bath or shower
  • Sprinkle water or your skin or clothes
  • Avoid excess exercise
  • Avoid excess alcohol
  • Avoid the sun at peak times, between 11am and 3pm

By following some of these tips, they will also prevent dehydration and help your body keep itself cool.

Most of all, enjoy the hot weather but do make sure that you take the necessary steps to look after yourself and those who are most vulnerable.

Published on 13 July 2022