In the age of global warming and rising temperatures, the world has increasingly seen heatwaves. While is it imperative to look after the environment and ensure that we keep our carbon footprint low, how do we take care of our own health as the mercury soars?
When interviewed by the BBC, Doctor Nighat Arif handed out some top tips.
- Plan your acitivites in accordance with the temperature
Make sure that you do not plan your outdoor activities at the hottest times of the day. For example, it might be advisable to run your errands (especially those that involve outdoor activity) in the early mornings or evenings. As Doctor Nighat says: “The hottest time will be around midday so try not to be out in the sun.”
The problem could be compounded if you go out at this time and do high-intensive activities, such as running, jumping or other heavy exercises warned Doctor Nighat.
This is something that can be easily adhered to. Barring an emergency, it just requires forethought and planning – something we can all do if we put in a little effort.
2. Pay attention to your own health status
While a normal healthy person may struggle with the heat, the situation can be exacerbated if you have underlying health conditions.
High-risk groups include children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying heart conditions and cardiovascular problems.
Check in with yourself and be mindful of your own health status!
3. Stay hydrated
While this may sound simple enough, you would be surprised at just how many people are actually dehydrated. Don’t just drink water when you are thirsty. Drink throughout the day! This is a practice – not an instinct. Keep at it!
Sometimes those who are elderly or with memory issues such as dementia may forget to drink water. Family members and loved ones, please remind them! This is especially crucial on a hot day.
4. Put on sun cream
Again, this is one of those easily done things that are not always done. Some may put it on once during the day and forget about it or others may think this unnecessary.
However, when one is out and about, it is easy to stay out in the sun for too long, not realising that you have burnt yourself until it is too late!
Doctor Nighat stressed the importance of putting lots of sun cream on throughout the day. Pay special attention to which part of your body the sun is hitting you and apply extra protection there!
5. Wear cool and loose clothes
According to Doctor Nighat, wearing cool clothes can help the body to regulate temperatures. Avoid synthetic fabrics that stick to you and tight clothes that make you feel even hotter on those balmy days.
It is also worth keeping a jug of water by you and applying wet flannels, where possible.
6. Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion
The signs of heat exhaustion include:
- A headache
- Dizziness and confusion
- Loss of appetite and feeling sick
- Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
- Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
- Fast breathing or pulse
- A high temperature of 38C or above
- Being very thirsty.
While heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. It can turn into a heatstroke if unchecked and that can be dangerous!
It is therefore paramount to stay alert to the signs of heat exhaustion to stave off the risk of heatstroke.