Visiting a hot country has its own particular challenges and it is wise to plan ahead.
Due to the change of diet you can expect a temporary bout of diarrhoea, but this condition can be made worse, and even caused by excessive heat and dehydration. Becoming too hot is something that you should avoid and it is important to take the heat very seriously.
There are two types of problems that happen when you are over heating: The first is heat exhaustion, this means that the temperature inside your body rises to more than 40°C. This causes symptoms such as severe headaches, vomiting, lack of breath, and excessive sweating. If you experience heat exhaustion you should get out of the sun and drink plenty of cool water. If you don’t do that, you could develop the second condition – heat stroke, which is extremely dangerous, causing confusion and loss of consciousness. If this happens you will need immediate medical help.
It is better to try to avoid the heat, which isn’t always easy especially when you’re travelling.
Here are some great tips for keeping cool:
1. Stay out of the midday sun.
Although this sounds obvious and easy to do it can be very difficult when you’re travelling or in a holiday environment. Trips and tours typically last all day, and getting from one place to another may mean that you have to travel on unconditioned buses for hours. However, keeping out of the midday heat should be a priority, even if you are on the beach.
You will notice that locals will leave the beach and sleep after a long lunch. They do not nap on a sun bed, but actually go to bed with the shades closed. Locals know that the midday sun is harmful and energy sapping. Shops will shut from midday till about four in the afternoon all over Europe. Everything seems to draw to a halt. It’s siesta time!
2. Avoid walking during the hottest times of the day, which in some countries can be from 10 am to 4 pm!
You have to really love the heat to go on walking holidays in July, August and even September in most parts of southern Europe.
3. If you’re in a European city a good tip is to go to a shopping centre.
These have become a place where people congregate to avoid the heat as well as the rain. Typically they are designed to keep people as comfortable as possible, so that they hang around to shop more, and the air conditioning certainly works. They have good places to eat, coffee bars, music and entertainment and generally there is an atmosphere of a typical European piazza, they do not close in the middle of the day.
Also, there are the many amazing museums and art galleries to visit that are kept cool, but these may close for the siesta times too.
4. If you do find yourself in the intense heat then make sure you drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty, the aim is to keep your pee a light colour and to go to the loo frequently.
Avoid alcohol and sugar. Buy a re-useable bottle and freeze the water so it stays cooler longer. Make sure children and elderly people are kept cool because they are at risk of over-heating far more than the rest of us.
5. Make sure you use the right sunscreen.
It’s worth spending a bit extra on this, as some ingredients are rather scary!
6. Avoid any sort of exercise during the hottest times of the day, slow down, change the pace of your life, and just stay in the shade as much as you can.
Never sit out in the midday sun, even if you’re covered in sunscreen. If you really must be active, then wait till the sun is cooler or do it early in the morning.
7. Protect yourself with wide a brimmed hat, although if you’re in the extreme heat hats make you hotter.
Always wear sunglasses and buy those that block at least 99% of UVB rays and 95% of UVA rays. Choose large glasses that cover as much of the area around the eye as possible.
8. Swimming may seem like a cooling activity but the sun will bear down on you so you should not go into the sea or pool during the middle of the day.
9. If you are driving, make sure that you have plenty of water in the car, but never drink water that has been sitting in a plastic bottle in the heat.
The plastic will release dangerous chemicals.
10. Take time to check out the weather forecast, and remember that temperatures are measured in the shade, not under the midday sun, so things will be much hotter if you’re in the full sunshine.
11. Wear cotton and only cotton!
Synthetic materials don’t keep you cool, unless the labels clearly state that they are specially designed to keep the heat out. Lightweight clothes and light colours are best. Black absorbs the heat. Long sleeves and long trousers that are lightweight are better if you have to walk in the heat. They will protect you from getting burned.
Wear simple styles and no accessories, jewelry or heavy makeup. Tie up long hair or keep short hair very short. Wear sandals and flip-flops.
12. If you have a fan then use it.
Put a bowl of ice in front of it and you get instant air conditioning. Remember that in the extreme heat fans don’t work, they just blow hot air round the room.
13. Check out the country in detail before booking.
Find out what the weather will be like, it sounds obvious, but it may be that going to Rome in the summer months could be the biggest mistake you ever make, what about Venice – do you know how wonderful it is to visit in February compared to August?
Have a great summer.
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