Across the UK today and tomorrow, we are seeing record high temperatures. Thankfully here in Glasgow it’s a bearable 28 or so degrees – but it’s still extremely hot and uncomfortable especially for children and pets.
Here are some tips to help you keep cool over the next few days.
Our homes will heat up during the day so it helps to know what to do to limit the trapped heat so that we can sleep easier at night. Heat rises, so it’s important to keep windows open upstairs to help the flow of air. You could also consider keeping the curtains or blinds shut just on the south side of the house as this will receive the most sunlight, and only open windows on the side of the house that is shade so that the air coming into the home is cool. By leaving curtains, blinds and windows open all day, you could end up with warm air circulating around the house making it unbearable at night.
If you have a tendency to sleep on your back, try to sleep on your side so that more of your body is exposed to the air and you can regulate your body temperature.
Using a cold, wet flannel can cool you down instantly – consider placing a bowl of ice water and a flannel close-by so you have access to a cold flannel during the night. Another option is to put a hot water bottle into the freezer for half an hour before bed to keep you cool whilst you stay asleep – this can also help your children to stay cool.
It’s obvious to use a fan to stay cool – but it will be much more effective if you place a bowl or pint of ice below it to circulate the cooler air around the room.
Dress yourself and your children in natural fabrics only – cotton and linen are ideal for keeping cool. Ditch the denim and synthetic fibres and surprisingly, keeping on long sleeves in a cotton voile can keep you cooler than exposed skin. It will also protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Staying cool is all about enabling air to flow around the body – so choose oversized, light-coloured garments for you and your children. Avoid letting your children run around in just a swimsuit or shorts – covering their arms in natural loose fabrics will help protect their skin keeping them cool all day.
Eating and drinking
Eating the right foods can stop you from feeling hot and uncomfortable. Iced veg, salad and fruit straight from the fridge will keep you cool and you can also get the kids to make home-made slushies using just fruit juice partially frozen. Avoid salt as this can be dehydrating. One of the best fruits to eat in this weather is watermelon as it’s 92% water, sliced into wedges this is a great snack for the kids.
Aside from making sure you drink at least 2l of water – and keeping the children hydrated – coconut water is ideal in hot weather as it has electrolyte minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium which have isotonic properties. Drinking it before exercise can improve your ability to work out when it’s warm – although in these extremely high temperatures it’s an idea to limit workouts to early in the morning or late at night. Finally, if you’re a coffee and tea addict, switch to decaffeinated in hot weather – and drink it over ice.
Do not walk your dogs in the heat – and as a test put your hand on the pavement for five seconds, if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. If you can, avoid taking them for a walk during the day for the next couple of days and limit exercise to later at night or first thing in the morning whilst it’s still relatively cool. Make sure your animals keep hydrated and keep small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs in the shade only. Finally, it should go without saying – but don’t leave your dog in a car even for a few minutes or with the window down, it can still become unbearable and dangerous.
Finally, don’t forget the sun cream – the higher the factor the better!