Keeping cool in the summer

We all love the sunshine but if it’s too hot for a long time it can affect our health. During a heatwave, the elderly are particularly at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion/heat stroke, which can be worse if you suffer from heart or breathing problems. If you are prepared for the hot weather you will be able to cope much better.

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Stay Cool.

stay cool summer home
safe places summer

  • Keep your windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, often the air outside is warmer than inside. Open them late at night when the temperature has dropped. Blinds and curtains should be closed during the day as a preventative measure to stop your room from overheating. However, if your curtains are thick, keeping your curtains closed may be counter-intuitive; they will actually trap warm air and reduce circulation.
  • Keep to the ground floor. Hot air rises, so get down as low as you can to make sure you’re surrounded by cool air. If possible sleep downstairs, if you’re getting desperate to escape the heat.
  • Wear cotton clothes/pyjamas. Overdressing for bed will cause temperatures to rise but going naked is not the answer either. Let your skin breathe and ensure that any sweat is soaked up, rather than left on your body.
  • Take a cold shower or a cooler bath. Washing either your wrists or your feet with cold water before you sleep can help you to cool down and drift off.
  • If you’ve got the freezer space, wrap a sheet in a plastic bag, put it in the freezer, then half an hour before bed lay it between the bottom and top cover. Change your winter duvet for a lightweight summer duvet or single sheet.
  • Make a cold-water bottle which won’t melt all over your bed by filling a sock with rice, and then freezing it. Use this on your pulse points – the wrists, ankles, tops of your feet and your temples.
  • If you place a bowl or tray of ice in front of a blowing fan your room will become cooler as the ice melts. Do not use a fan if anyone in the home is unwell with symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Turn off lights, heating and electrical items that are not in use.

Eat Cool  – Keep hydrated.

stay cool summer keep well

  • Sweating can cause dehydration, making you more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Drinking cool glasses of water or juice throughout the day can be enough to bring your body temperature down. Keep water in the fridge. Try to avoid alcohol. Eat summer salads, fruits, jellies and food high in water content.
  • Fluid requirements are higher than normal in hot weather. Look out for signs of dehydration such as increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark urine, and urinating infrequently or small amounts. Other signs include dizziness, tiredness and dry mouth and eyes. Serious dehydration needs urgent medical attention.

Dress Cool.

Don’t worry about what you look like – wear a hat, light materials and keep your factor 50 topped up. Comfort and coverage is the key through cotton and linen fabrics. Wear clothes that are loose not tight and open sandals. Avoid wearing black if you go outside light colours may make you feel cooler as well. If you are taking part in exercise outside, ensure that they are not in direct sunlight for long periods, take regular cool drinks and wear sunscreen.

Watch Out.

watch out summer

Be on the lookout for signs of heat-related illness as chronic illnesses can get worse in hot weather. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two potentially serious conditions that can occur if you get too hot:

  • Heat exhaustion is where you become very hot and start to lose water or salt from your body – common symptoms include weakness, feeling faint, headache, muscle cramps, feeling sick, heavy sweating and intense thirst.
  • Heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high – it is less common, but more serious and untreated symptoms include confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness

What can I do?
You can find out more, such as common signs and symptoms to look out for, on the NHS website: