Whether you are a fervent sun-seeker, like your holidays hot, or you prefer to keep yourself in the shade, tips on how to stay healthy and well in hot weather are more relevant than ever. Here are our top wellness tips that are just as useful at home in a heatwave as they are on a hot holiday abroad.
HYDRATE! This absolutely can’t be emphasised enough. The top tip is to make sure you drink often (no need to drink a pint at a time!) even if you are not thirsty. The goal is to have urine that is a pale clear colour.
Hot drinks are better than cold in warm weather – true or false?
Well, it depends on the environment! A hot beverage can warm the body, producing sweat, which when evaporating can actually create a cooling affect. This only works in a hot and dry environment though. If you are already sweating or you are in a humid location, you are better of with a cold drink.
Cut back on the booze. Firstly, it can cause a person to sweat – which while might have a cooling affect to begin with, when combined with the fact it also increases urination, you are on a one-way ticket to dehydration. If you are going to have a cocktail in the sun, make sure you drink plenty of water to replenish your system!
Get a hot water bottle. Yes, really! Just don’t fill it with hot water. Instead chill your water in the freezer then add it to the bottle and place it under your feet for maximum cooling action. Other top cooling tips include:
• Run your wrists under cool water
• Wrap an ice-pack in a towel and place under your feet, armpits or neck
• Pop a pair of socks in the freezer before putting them on
• Take a cool shower
• Spritz your body (won’t work in humid weather)
• Place a wet towel on an airer in front of a fan (again, won’t work in humid weather)
• Keep doors, windows and curtains closed on the sunny side of your apartment or hotel – this will stop warm air getting in
Watch out for muscle cramps. This is an early sign of heat-stroke or heat-exhaustion, other things to look out for include:
• Loss of appetite
• Feeling sick
• High temperature
The following are signs of dehydration:
• Dark urine with a strong smell
• Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
• Short urination, and going fewer than four times in a day
Pre-existing conditions and illnesses can make you more susceptible to dehydration such as diabetes, vomiting and diarrhoea, and medicines which are diuretics.
Schedule a siesta. Only mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun, don’t be either. The sun is at it’s strongest between 11am and 3pm, so seek shade, take a nap, enjoy some air con, read a book – whatever… re-emerge when you are less likely to get heatstroke!
Wear lightweight loose clothes. Ideally made form a fabric that offers SPF protection (see below!). These will help you keep cool, and if you also avoid dark coloured fabric, your clothes won’t become a personal heater.
Slather on the sunscreen. Even if you’re sitting in the shade, or if it is cloudy the sun’s rays can damage your skin, and cause burns. Look for protection that is at least SPF 30 to protect from UVB rays, and has a minimum 4-star rating to protect from UVA.
SPF clothing is better than sunscreen! There are a number of ways fabric can offer sun protection. Firstly, the weave – a tightly woven dense fabric for example will block more UV than a loose weave. The type of fabric is also a consideration – unbleached cotton actually absorbs UV, sadly most t-shirts are made with bleached cotton so unlikely to offer protection. A tight weave linen blocks both UVA and UVB. Fabrics to avoid include viscose, bleached cotton and crepe. Be aware that tight clothing stretches the weave and therefore offers less protection. Some fabrics have chemicals added and are sold with a specific SPF rating.
Take it easy! Who needs an excuse (especially on holiday) to take it easy? Everyone it seems. Whether you haver tours booked, sightseeing to do, like to get some exercise in or just don’t like siting still – make sure you keep your pace slow, and try not to exert yourself, especially at the hottest times of the day.
Our travel insurance comes with a 24 hour helpline should you fall ill on holiday. For more information about how we can offer you peace on mind on your next break, and about travel insurance for pre-existing conditions, get in touch with one of our team.