How to keep your cool in a heatwave

Let’s face it, the UK isn’t exactly famed for its scorching summers, is it? But we do have our moments, and now and again the country is hit with a heatwave or two during the summer months. Sunny days and warmer weather tend to lift our moods and make us feel happier; but for some people a heatwave is not an altogether enjoyable experience.

Elderly people, young children, and those who are disabled or have long-term health conditions such as heart disease are amongst the people who are most vulnerable to extreme temperatures during a heatwave. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion is never fun, but in vulnerable people it can lead to further complications, and could even be fatal in some cases.

Here are our top tips to help you keep cool during warmer weather…

  • Keep curtains closed: Even on a winter’s day, when the sun streams through your windows it heats your home using infrared heat. Of course, this is most welcome in the winter, but during a heatwave you want to eliminate this excess heat and avoid turning your home into a greenhouse. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day to keep the sun out and help you home to stay as cool as possible.
  • Keep windows closed: It can be tempting to leave your windows open whilst you’re out during the day; many people think this will help to keep their home cool, but that’s not true. Letting warm air into your home whilst you’re out will only serve to make it warmer and the heat will be stifling when you return home. Not to mention that leaving your windows open is a security risk too.
  • Unplug electrical items: Leaving gadgets and appliances plugged in and on standby generates heat, and that contributes to the overall interior heat of your home. Switch off your televisions and computers rather than leaving them in standby mode, and unplug things like phone chargers when they’re not being used. This could help to lower the temperature in the room by one degree, and every little helps in a heatwave.
  • Avoid hot drinks: Contrary to popular belief, hot drinks won’t help to cool you down. Hot drinks raise your core temperature, making you feel warmer. Tea and coffee should especially be avoided in hot weather as they contain caffeine which is a diuretic and can contribute to dehydration in the same way as alcohol. Stick to water and fruit juices where possible for the best hydration.
  • Eat lighter meals: The digestive process uses a lot of energy, which raises your metabolic temperature and makes you feel warmer. Avoid eating large, heavy meals when the weather is warm. Instead, opt for smaller meals throughout the day, and try to fill your plate with fruit and vegetables that have a high water content, such as cucumber, tomatoes, and watermelon as they slow your digestion down and use less energy.
  • Take lukewarm showers: In the sweltering heat it might be tempting to take a cold shower to cool yourself down, but it’s not recommended. If your body is too hot and you take a cold shower, the dramatic change in temperature will shock your body and it will start trying to preserve heat. A lukewarm shower is much more efficient at lowering your core body temperature to a comfortable level.
  • Put ice in front of your fan: A large bowl of ice can help to reduce the ambient temperature of the air around it. By placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan you can spread this cool ambient temperature further around the room, which can help to reduce the temperature in the room by up to one degree.
  • Use water to stay cool: Water can be used to cool down the places where heat tends to accumulate in your body – your wrists, temples, elbows, and joint creases. Run your wrists under cold water, or apply a cold, wet cloth to your temples etc to cool yourself down instantly. You could also try wetting an item of clothing like a t-shirt or a pair of socks; as the water evaporates it will pull the heat away from your body and help you to feel cooler.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.