Stay cool in the summer heat

2 ladies in a heatwaveWith the weather hotting up, we all want to get outside and enjoy it, especially as the sun has some great health-boosting benefits.

Sunlight enables our body to produce vitamin D, helping us to absorb calcium and keep our bones healthy. And if you’re feeling a bit down, being in the sun can even improve your mood.

But it’s important to take care too. Heat can cause you to dehydrate, so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids and keep your skin protected. Did you know that if you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot? Be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke  and if you’re worried about the effect of heat on your health, pop along to your GP and have a chat to make sure you stay comfortable.

10 top tips for staying cool

  1. Don’t spend long periods sitting or working outside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid-afternoon
  2. If you’re travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water
  3. Avoid strenuous activity, and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler
  4. When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun
  5. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler
  6. Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured, cotton clothing.
  7. Take cool baths or showers
  8. Splash your face with cool (not very cold) water, or place a damp cloth on the back of your neck to help you cool off
  9. Drink lots of fluid – even if you aren’t thirsty
  10. Eat normally – even if you aren’t hungry, you need a normal diet to replace salt losses from sweating. In addition, try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit, as these contain a lot of water

What else can you do?

  • If you live alone, consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you’re not having difficulties
  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check regularly that they are OK
  • If a heatwave is on its way or the weather is hot for several days, listen to local radio so you know the latest advice for your area. Check weather reports and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and through The MET Office
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot. Contact your GP for advice.

About age uk county durham

Age UK County Durham is a small independent charity based in North East England. Our mission is to promote the well-being of all older people and to help make life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.
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