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Right at Home: How to Keep Cool in Hot Weather

We’re having another especially hot spell, and following our advice around avoiding dehydration in a previous column, I thought I’d share some other great tips around coping with these high temperatures.

Can hot weather be dangerous?

A heatwave can pose several health risks, particularly for those who are vulnerable.  This includes babies, young children, older people and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.   As we age, we are less able to control our body temperature, as ageing decreases our ability to sweat.   The main risks, outlined by the NHS are: 

  • Dehydration (not drinking enough water)
  • Overheating 
  • Heat exhaustion/heatstroke 

How to keep cool in hot weather 

  • To help you keep cool in hot weather, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, which is between 11.00 am – 3.00 pm. If you are outdoors, try to keep out of the sun and sit or walk in the shade instead. 
  • When outside, remember to wear sunscreen and consider a wide-brimmed hat. 
  • Taking a cool shower can help, as well as regularly sprinkling water over the skin or clothing, or applying a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
  • And, of course, drink plenty of fluids to ensure you stay hydrated and avoid excess alcohol.

How to keep your house cool in hot weather
Keeping your house cool can help stop you from becoming overheated.

  • For windows that face the sun, close the curtains to help keep rooms cooler. And remember that the sun moves during the day so different windows may get the full force at different times.
  • Think before opening windows.  Sometimes it may be cooler outdoors than indoors, in which case open the windows to let some COOLER air IN.   However, during the day, if it is hotter outside, you’d be better off closing the windows to keep the HOT air OUT.
  • At night, when the temperature has dropped outside, you can open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate around the house and cool it (though obviously avoid doing this on the ground floor for security reasons).

What food should I eat during hot weather?
Salads are perfect hot weather food, as are fruits with a high water content. 

  • Cucumber, celery and melon are all 95% water! 
  • Fruits with a high water content include strawberries, melons, oranges, pineapples and peaches.

How to sleep in hot weather
During very warm spells, it’s common to struggle with getting to sleep.

So here are some handy tips:

  • Before going to bed, soak your feet in cool water for 10 minutes. Heat is lost quicker through your feet and your head. 
  • Remove hot duvets or a layer or two of blankets – and just use a lighter sheet.
  • If you’re using a fan, keep the door open. This will allow for air to flow around the room. 
  • If you don’t have a fan, or the noise stops you from falling asleep, why not try filling up a hot water bottle with cold water to keep you cool?
  • Hot weather can also make us feel tired. Avoid napping during the day though, as this could leave you struggling to get to sleep during the evening. 

What can YOU do to help others?
If you know someone who is vulnerable or lives alone, please check on them to ensure they are coping with the heat. Heatstroke can kick in once your body temperature reaches 40c or above, and can be very dangerous. 

Our column on dehydration a couple of weeks back talked about how dehydration can result in confusion, loss of balance, restlessness, lack of energy and sleepiness.  

For more top tips on keeping cool during the hot weather, take a look at the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/).

Or give us a call to learn about how our services can help people stay safe and independent in their own home, whatever the weather.

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