We share advice from the British Red Cross: See more here
It doesn’t often get hot in Britain – which is why so many of us go a bit solar-crazy. But before lathering yourself in baby oil and lying out on a piece of tin-foil, heed these warnings.
1. Sunburn At the first sign of good weather, it’s a popular male instinct in the UK to immediately expose one’s milky-white torso to the blazing sun. Many women, meanwhile, will spend days wearing differently-strapped tops until their exposed backs look like weird, sunburny crop circles. All too often, sun lotion doesn’t feature.
The problem is that most of us tend to see sunburn as not-really-a-proper-burn. But it is, just as surely as putting your hand over a lit flame. It’s very damaging, potentially cancerous and incredibly ageing for your skin.
Top tips 1. Regularly apply a high-factor sun lotion. 2. Try to stay in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm. 3. Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes that offer protection.
2. Drink lots of water It’s not a delightful image, but the truth is we all become human colanders during a heatwave. In very hot weather, our bodies sweat out liquid at a rate of knots so it’s really important to rehydrate.
Top tips 1. Take regular, small sips of water. (Note: drinking nothing for four hours then glugging back four litres in one go is cheating, and doesn’t work.) 2. Lager, beer, Pimms, wine and sweet fizzy drinks are not water. They are anti-water, in fact, because they cause dehydration.
3. Avoid heat exhaustion Ever wondered why all those cool-looking people in Mediterranean countries (‘Ciao!’) tend to stick to the shade and take things easy? It’s because they know how the body can quickly overheat under a strong sun.
Remember: excessive sweating = body losing salt and water = headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Top tips 1. Help someone who’s not feeling well to a shady place and ask them to lie down. 2. Give them plenty of water to drink. 3. Remove any excess, bulky clothing. 4. Monitor their condition – if their breathing or pulse changes, call 999.
4. Heatstroke: the big danger This is the serious one. If someone becomes dangerously over-heated, the brain’s ‘thermostat’ can malfunction and the body can’t regulate its own temperature. People with heatstroke often stop sweating and can lose consciousness within minutes, so you need to act fast.
Top tips 1. Quickly move the person to a cool place and remove outer clothing. 2. Call 999 for emergency help. 3. Wrap the person in a cold, wet sheet and pour cold water over them until their temperature falls to a normal level. 4. Once their temperature is normal, replace the wet sheet with a dry one. 5. Monitor and record their vital signs until emergency help arrives.