The mercury is still rising in Britain with temperatures in the mid 20s.
We're loving it, but some sensible precautions have to be taken too.
“People can die during a heatwave,” says GP Dr Ian Campbell, “but it is usually those with underlying health problems - either ones they’re aware of or that are triggered by the high temperature and dehydration.”
Those more at risk of heat stroke are small babies and older people because they can’t thermo-regulate in the same way. People with pre-existing heart disease or respiratory problems will also be more vulnerable.
Whoever you are, here’s how to make it through the heat of the day…
Check the forecast and plan your day. Check when temperatures are going to be highest (normally about 4pm), and try not to be in a sweaty gym class or stuck on a train without air conditioning at that time. Eat a light breakfast to give you energy, don your coolest clothes and pack some water in your bag.
Forget about that coffee on the way to work. Caffeine’s a diuretic and will make you go to the toilet more, losing important fluids. Instead, top up your water bottle regularly and sip constantly throughout the day.
The sun’s at its highest between about 11am and 3pm, so don’t be a mad dog or an Englishman and stay out of the midday sun. If you do need to be outdoors, make sure you slap on suntan lotion – minimum SPF20 – and a hat, as well as cover up exposed skin.
Try to lunch light. Dr Campbell says: “If you have a heavy meal, you may be exposed to low blood pressure because all the blood goes to your stomach. For people who are already on tablets for high blood pressure, a bit dehydrated or have had exposure to the sun, it can cause the blood pressure to drop quite quickly and make them prone to all sorts of other medical problems.”
This is the moment for an ice cream, a swim if you’re not working, or a crank-up of the desk fan if you are. Thanks to a build-up of midday sun, the middle of the afternoon is going to be very hot.
After-work drinks in the sunshine are tempting, but alcohol and heat don’t mix. If you are going out, make sure you drink plenty of water too and perhaps stick to beer or at least long cocktails. Dr Campbell also recommends staying away from “smoky congested areas” for those with breathing problems.
Top up your liquid levels with dinner. According to Dr Campbell, the average woman should be drinking two litres on a normal day, two and a half for a man. During heatwaves, it should be “in excess” of that. Remember that includes fluids in fruit and cups of tea.
If you’re heading to bed, open windows and strip your bed of any unnecessary bedclothes. If you have a fan, stick it on. Have a cold shower or a cool bath to make you feel as comfortable as possible before you hit the sack. Dr Campbell says: “Drink throughout the night because you’ll probably sweat excessively.”
Share your tips for keeping cool in the Comments box below.