July 19. As summer temperatures head for record-breaking highs across the northern hemisphere, there’s little hope of respite from the intense heat in holiday hotspots. June was the hottest month on record globally, and the highest global temperatures ever recorded have followed in July. For those travelling during the peak summer holiday season, the heat brings a unique set of challenges, from wildfires to heat stroke. If you have a trip coming up, here’s how to stay safe in hot weather on your next holiday.
Follow the Cordoban example. The Andalusian city has long been known as the crucible of Spain for its blistering temperatures, and those who live there have developed coping strategies over generations. The most important is, in effect, a switch from diurnal to crepuscular lifestyles, rising at dawn, returning home by 11am and not emerging for the next seven or eight hours. That might sound boring, but it’s not as tedious as sunstroke — so rather than lying beside the pool, either stay indoors or in deep shade during the hottest hours.
You should wear loose clothing — the lighter the better — in cotton, linen or technical sportswear fabrics (Columbia’s Omni-Freeze Zero line is particularly effective); a wide-brimmed hat (a baseball cap does not protect the ears or the neck); and quality sunglasses. High factor, regularly replenished sun block is essential, and if you’re not drinking at least two litres of water per day, you’re risking your health.
If night-time temperatures rarely drop below 25C, it’s hard to get enough sleep, resulting in irritability, exhaustion and impaired concentration, which can lead to accidents. The old bush trick of soaking your forearms in cold water before bed is an effective way to reduce body temperature, while a cold water bottle under the pillow will keep you cool for a while. To make one, half-fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it. Downstairs bedrooms are cooler than those upstairs, and you should make sure windows are closed and shuttered both day and night.
Source: The Times