As temperatures soar and we all head out to make the most of the long, hot summer days, here are some tips to help keep your cool:
Slow down and avoid strenuous activity, which will stimulate your body and raise its core temperature. If you must go jogging, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually before 7am.
Wear lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothes. Heat is trapped by synthetic fibres, but cotton absorbs perspiration and its evaporation causes you to feel cooler. The light colours reflect the sun’s radiation.
Run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Because a main vein passes through this area, it helps cool the blood. Also, if you have a small washtub or wide deep bucket, have a towel ready for drying, and take a few minutes to submerge your feet in cool water.
For any windows that receive direct sun, keep blinds and curtains closed to help prevent your home heating up like a greenhouse.
You may be longing for a cold beer or a chilled white wine spritzer. But you should avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body. You are better off with mineral water or low-sugar fizzy drinks. Also, avoid drinks with caffeine such as coffee and colas. These increase the metabolic heat in the body.
Eat spicy food. Although this may be the last thing you fancy in hot weather, curries and chilies stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, enhance circulation and cause sweating, which cools the body down.
The night before you go out for the day in the sun, roll up a few damp facecloths and pop them in the freezer. Take them with you in a plastic bag in the cooler with the drinks and snacks. Then, when you start to feel hot, unwrap them and place them over your face.
Replace your usual body moisturizer with a cooling aloe vera after-sun product. This will help lower your skin temperature.
If you have a basement, use it during the hottest hours of the day when the sun is highest. Basements are usually several degrees cooler than the upstairs part of the house.
Take a tepid bath or shower just below body temperature, especially before bedtime. Although a cold shower might sound more tempting, your body generates heat afterwards to compensate for the heat loss.
Sleep on a feather or down pillow with a cotton pillowcase. Synthetic pillows retain heat.
Rent an air-conditioning unit. Placed in the corner of the room, this box – no bigger than a bedside cabinet – will cool things down within half an hour. Alternatively, invest in air-conditioning for your home if you can.
Get Liquid Ice. This re-useable ice wrap is perfect for cooling hot skin. The cloth, pre-soaked in the Liquid Ice solution, cools instantly when removed from the packet without need for refrigeration.
Get some Mentholatum Migraine Ice patches. These soft gel patches (designed to soothe headaches) come into their own during heatwaves as they instantly reduce skin temperature when applied. Place on temples and wrists. They can be found in pharmacies.
Ditch your duvet and sleep under a sheet instead. Even better, put your sheets in a plastic bag and stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours before going to bed. As we fall asleep our body temperature lowers, which is one of the primary reasons that it’s so often difficult to sleep in hot weather. Cold sheets straight from the fridge should help you fall asleep and sleep better. Also try placing a frozen water bottle (with a provenly effective seal) at the foot of your bed at bedtime to help cool your feet.
Sit back, close your eyes, relax, and visualize snow. Research has shown that the body reacts to these images and daydreams, reducing its overall temperature.
Some excerpts from: Natasha Courtnay-Smith and Charlotte Dovey: 20 Hot Tips to Stay Cool, http://www.dailymail.co.uk