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NI heatwave: 10 top tips to make things a little easier during sweltering temperatures


Helen's Bay beach recently Photograph by Declan Roughan

Helen's Bay beach recently Photograph by Declan Roughan

Helen's Bay beach recently Photograph by Declan Roughan

For those finding the weather too hot to handle, there are various ways to help things feel a little more comfortable.

And while a lot may seem like common sense, it is amazing how quickly we can forget the simple things that can make things a little easier.

Try these ten top tips:

1: Drink plenty of water. And make sure it’s water, not cool beer, as excessive alcohol can raise body temperature. Avoid caffeine, too. Fluid intake is vital to keep the body hydrated. And keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer, so you can grab one when you are ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you will have a supply of cold water with you.

2: Tempting though it may be to lie and bake in the sun all day, if you are not at work of course, don’t run the risk of sunburn. Hot skin in warm and sticky conditions is a recipe for more discomfort than necessary. If you must catch some rays, remember to put the aftersun in the fridge to cool and rehydrate the skin afterwards.

3: Take regular showers. It’s not just about staying clean, it’s about rehydrating the skin, cooling down and feeing fresh in the hot and sticky conditions. But don’t stay in too long - remember to save water where you can.

4: Dress appropriately. Wear loose fitting clothing. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics. And the lighter the colour, the better to reflect the sun away from you rather than absorb it and warm the skin.

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5: If you do need to be outdoors, try to plan any trips for early morning or evening when the sun is not quite so warm. The sun is at its hottest between 11am and 3pm. And don’t even think about walking your dog in the midday sun.

6: Eat sensibly. Don’t be cooking dinners that need the oven on for a long time as the heat will build up in the kitchen. Avoid boiling pans on the hob. Smaller, more frequent meals that do not need much preparation can help you feel better and avoid a build up of added heat in the home. The same goes for other appliances that generate heat like tumble dryers and dishwashers. Use sparingly.

7: Use your curtains. While it can be lovely to have sunlight shine in through the window, any room that faces the sun can warm up quickly. Closing curtains keeps the warmth down. With temperatures remaining high at night time, anything to keep the heat in living rooms or bedrooms down during the day will be appreciated later.

8: Again it may sound like common sense, but seek shade whenever you can. Walk out of direct sunlight, park your car in a shaded area if you can. Wear a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off your head and face, particularly if you are heading to the beach, where a light breeze can fool you into thinking you are not as hot as you are.

9: Hot air rises, meaning upstairs rooms, like bedrooms, can often be warmer than downstairs. At night time, switch to cooler, cotton sheets and if you want a good night’s sleep, and don’t mind making the bed last thing at night, pop bed sheets into the fridge for an hour before going to bed to cool them down. Invest in an electric fan if you can to keep air circulating in the room to help you sleep more comfortably.

10: Follow social distancing guidelines when out and about - and not just for health and safety reasons. The more people gathered together in mall spaces, the more heat is generated.

And remember there are other people in society for whom a heatwave can be dangerous - older people who live on their own, those with heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, breathing difficulties or some mental health conditions. If you can, make sure they have enough water and are comfortable in their homes. Make sure children are protected with high factor sun lotion and don’t leave anyone or any pets in a parked car with the windows shut. Stay safe and enjoy the heat by staying sensible.

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