How to stay cool during a heatwave

Warm summer weather can be enjoyable, however intense heatwaves can be dangerous. Here is our guide on how to keep cool and stay safe as the thermometer rises.

Summer in a London park (Getty)
Published: July 18th, 2022 at 6:30 am
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Everyone loves a bit of warm weather, but intense heatwaves are dangerous for people and wildlife. Here is our guide on how to keep cool and stay safe as the thermometer rises.

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If you're looking for somewhere to cool off, head to one of the UK's best lidos and seaside pools this summer, or check out our feature on wild swimming in Britain: water safety and how to get started. Want to help hedgehogs, birds and other garden visitors who are feeling the heat? See our guide to how to help wildlife during a summer heatwave.

In the midst of the heatwave, stay cool with ten simple steps.

1. Wear cotton or linen

Swap synthetic, silk and other fancy fabrics for cotton and linen. These are great for ventilation and will help cool you down.

2. Combat dehydration

Drink plenty of water as well as cold drinks - the NHS recommends 8-10 glasses of water every day.

Cool water filled with berries, cucumber and citrus fruits/Credit: Getty

3. Grab a parasol

Umbrellas are great for protecting yourself from the heat when outside, so grab one before you step out.

Beach-goers protect their skin under parasols/Credit: Getty

Woman swimming

4. Stay cool

Place some ice cubes on your wrists and around your neck for a minute for two - it makes a real difference to your core temperature.

Flavoured ice cubes/Credit: Getty

5. Freshen up before bed

Go for a quick shower before hitting the hay to lower your temperature and help you nod off.

A running shower/Credit: Getty

6. Drink your tea cold

If you are an avid tea drinker, empty your hot herbal tea into a glass full of ice. It’s refreshing, cheap and keeps you hydrated. Add fruit slices and mint to make it even more delicious.

Peach Iced Tea/Credit: Getty

7. Eat something spicy

Surprised? Spicy food triggers the heat receptor in the mouth making you sweat, which cools you down from within.

Drying chilli peppers/Credit: Getty

8. Pick your moment for exercise

Avoid exercise in the middle of the day. Head out for your daily run first thing in the morning or at twilight to avoid fatigue.

Running in the mist of early morning./Credit: Getty

9. Avoid cold showers

Cool or tepid water is better for showering as freezing water will actually make your body attempt to preserve heat.


Heatwaves in history

Do you remember the sizzling summer of 1976?

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More than forty years ago, a heatwave held the country in its shimmering, searing thrall. The land cracked, gardens withered and reservoirs lay parched and bare. Matthew Oates looks back to the Great Drought of 1976

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