Top tips on how to beat the heat, stay cool, summer smart and wise when temperatures rise or your travel to a hotter climate. Heat can kill. Understanding some basics about dehydration and heat acclimatization will help you stay cool. You can literally save lives and prevent heat-related illnesses. Summer smart is also about knowing what to wear, the best products and supplements. Get your resource-rich top tips on how to make the most out of your summer. Do feel free to comment, share and send us tips back too.
Beat the Heat: Stress, Exhaustion, and Stroke
Heat stress comes when the body cannot cool itself down enough to keep a healthy temperature. The heat-related illnesses include heat rash, heat cramps, dizziness or fainting, worsening of existing medical conditions and heat exhaustion and heat stroke. As the air temperature rises, your body stays cool when your sweat evaporates. You will want these tips to beat the heat!
On hot, humid days, the evaporation of sweat is slowed by the increased moisture in the air. What may be warm temperature wise gets increased by humidity. While the temperature is measured by degrees (Fahrenheit or Celsius) the humidity ads and thus the heat index is the real temperature you need to consider. When sweating isn’t enough to cool your body, your body temperature rises, and you may become ill.
Heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too hot. It can be caused by physical exercise or hot weather. The symptoms (see picture) will tell you when need to act. Don’t think that you are being weak or silly. To beat the heat you need to use judgment, and follow what medical professionals know.
Do the wise thing, and get out of the heat quickly. Rest in a building that has access to air-conditioning. If you can’t get inside, find a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids.
Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks (such as soda). These can make heat exhaustion worse. Take a cool shower or bath, or apply cool water to your skin. Also, take off any tight or unnecessary clothing.
If you do not feel better within 30 minutes, you should contact a doctor. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can progress to heat stroke. Read more about what heat exhaustion is in the links below, or click on the highlighted links in the text.
What to watch out for is heat stroke. This is when the internal temperature of the body reaches 40°C or 104°F. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion as it can cause damage to your organs and brain. In extreme cases, it can kill you. The symptoms range from a severe headache to seizures (see picture) and call for medical attention.
If you – or someone you see/know – is suspected to have a heat stroke call emergency medical personnel immediately. While waiting for medical assistance, find an air-conditioned building or a cool, shady place. Remove unnecessary clothing to help cool down. Try to fan air over the person while wetting the skin with water. Using ice packs to the person’s armpits, groin, neck, and back can help to cool them down.
Read more in links under related & recommended at the end.
Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially sensitive to temperature changes. If you have an existing medical condition and take medicines you should discuss with your doctor before a planned trip as certain medicines can affect the way your body reacts to heat.
If you are planning a trip or can see a heat wave coming there are things you can do. By reading up, and getting the basic tips about what heat-related illness you will be able to prevent the nasty, and make your day (or trip) so much more enjoyable! To beat the heat you will need to take preventative steps before – not after.
16 Top Tips to Beat The Heat
- Plan your day carefully on hot days. Consider air-conditioned areas over direct exposure to midday sun. Change your plans to fit the heat. This is especially important when the heat index is high, as to avoid exposure at midday during the hottest hours.
- Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity and continue to drink extra water all day. Keep in mind that heat-related illnesses are not only caused by high temperatures and a loss of fluids, but also a lack of salt in the body. While water is best, in extreme heat some sports drinks, like Gatorade, can help replenish you faster to replace salt, electrolytes, and minerals.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Anyone living in hotter climates will know that only natural materials work in summer. Silk, Linen, and Cotton make for stylish, easy to wear choices. Think underwear too – as synthetic materials don’t breathe and create heat rashes and heat from within. I love shopping from Shopbop.com who have free international delivery and a great range!
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat (or using an umbrella). Favorite choices for hats is Tilley, or check out the Zappos hat collection.
- Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. For the face, you must think 50+, and the best one I have found is from Shiseido. Use a sunscreen that is recommended and highly rated by skin cancer researchers. The best ones can even be found online from highly recommended sites like eChemist.co.uk. Look at the page for Suncare to read up on which one is for you.
- Makeup that runs is not that attractive, and in the heat that can be a challenge. Think about a good primer for your make up, and best quality creams that sink into the inner layers of your skin. Clarins do the most wonderful range that makes your skin glow and definitely keeps you looking smooth and makeup in place. If you look on Sephora.com, they have a great selection of Summer Essentials – which I love and order online!
- Sunglasses are a must, and they have to be of good quality. High-level lenses and coverage for the whole eye area is essential – from an eye health perspective but also to protect that very thin skin around your eyes (wrinkles!). The beautifully designed Italian brands know a thing or two about style, sun and wrinkle protection and that is probably why they cover more than most of the sensitive eye area. I shop my sunglasses online. Nordstrom.com and neimanmarcus.com have great collections – and they deliver all over the world.
Beat The Heat: Climate Conscious
- Drink fewer beverages that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee and soda) or alcohol. Think about the fact that more southern countries frown upon heavy drinking in any case, so order what the locals order. Water, Water, Water 🙂
- Eat lighter foods that allow the body to process easily, such as fruit, vegetables, salads, and high water content foods. Heavier meals belong to the winter season when you need warmth from within. Natural cooling foods are Watermelon, Leafy Greens and Peppers. Foods that warm you are surprising: Ice cream, Processed Foods, and Complex carbohydrates.
- Supplements that can help the body in hot climates need to be studied carefully. What the body needs is help with its electrolytes, minerals and salt levels. You can buy online from reputable stores like eChemist.co.uk .
- Schedule vigorous outdoor activities for cooler times of the day – before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. Bear in mind that the mediterranean countries close during the siesta – and for good reason. It is simply too hot – and not healthy to be outside in the height of the day. My heart bleeds when I see tourists in synthetic clothes and no hats dragging their unprotected bodies around summer Rome. Many end up remembering their italian sejour as a walk through Dante’s inferno. If they would have listened to a few local tips, they would perhaps enjoy days with more joy?
- During an outdoor activity, take frequent breaks. Drink water or other fluids (not alcohol or caffeine, right?) every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Exercise and Fitness is just as important in Summer as it is in Winter, but you have to schedule your outdoor sports to early morning or late evening. Think about fluid intake, and learn to read your body signs for heat related illness. You can also enjoy doing exercise DVDs, like I often do on non-gym days. I especially like the 10 minutes solutions which I buy from Amazon.com.
- If you have a job that exposes you to outdoor heat, take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water, and wear a hat and protective light clothing. If you do gardening or DIY as a hobby plan these for early morning , or late afternoon.
- Public Transport – especially in Southern countries – can be a cramped, non air-conditioned affair which should be avoided if you can. If you do have to go, take water, hand fan, and get off if you start to feel unwell.
- Siesta was created to allow a rest from the heat outside. You don’t have to sleep, but do allow your body to rest. It really energizes you – so if you can – enjoy the quiet hours, and get into the culture you are in. Ole!
How are you staying cool this summer? Are you going to beat the heat, and re-think a bit? Please comment, share and feel free to join our mailing list here below too.
Recommended & Related:
- What is Heat Stress, Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke – Health & Safety, UK Gov
- Heat Prevention Tips – CDC, US
- Staying Cool and Hydrated to avoid Heat Related Illness – Womenshealth.about.com
- Why Avoid alcohol and caffeine in hot weather – National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health
- How does a Heat Wave affect the Human Body? – Scientific American
- Foods that Warm and Cool you – Ren Xin Tang
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