Temperatures are set to soar over the weekend, so it’s time to dust off the ol’ Queensland summer survival guide.
Here’s what you need to know to beat the heat this summer and stay safe during a heatwave.
Keeping hydrated is the most important thing on a hot summer’s day! Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, sluggishness, fatigue and confusion and in severe cases can cause migraines, vomiting, a high fever and an increased heart rate.
Keep hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water. If you’re not too fond of plain old water jazz it up with some lemon slices or berries or you could even opt for non-caffeinated ice teas.
Sometimes when you’re busy at work or at home you forget to drink water throughout the day, which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and can also give you headaches – so it’s important to remind yourself to drink throughout the day. Set yourself an alarm for every hour or two, when your alarm goes off drink a cold cup of water – it may seem silly but it works!
Snacking on high water content foods throughout the day will also help keep you hydrated. Pack heaps of fruit and vegetables like watermelon, rockmelons, grapes, cucumber, celery and tomatoes in your lunch box.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
For some, this one’s going to be hard! When it’s extremely hot, it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks – that means limiting the amount of soft drinks, energy drinks, sugary drinks and coffee and tea (unless they’re decaf) you consume.
Caffeine acts a diuretic, meaning it promotes the formation of urine by the kidney. Basically, caffeine based drinks make you run to the toilet more often and therefore your body loses more fluid. If you do need a caffeine fix, make sure you drink plenty of water after each cup!
Sugar effects your body in the same way salt does, it draws out water from your body making your thirstier. So, it’s a good idea to avoid sugary juices and cordials, instead opt for natural freshly made juices.
Alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a hot day will not only prevent your body from absorbing the water it needs, but it will also create an electrolyte imbalance. So, if you do need a bevvie please just keep to one or two glasses!
Take a dive in the pool
The quickest way to cool off is by jumping in the pool! If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard good for you, if not, there are plenty of public ones in Brisbane you can use and they’re pretty cheap to get in to. Check out Brisbane City Council’s website to search for a public pool near you.
We’ve all stood in the doorway of Brisbane City’s Myer Centre pretending to admire what’s in the shop windows just to cool off on an extremely hot day – don’t deny it.
A great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day is in a shopping centre, because simple put their air-con is much bigger and better than yours!
So ditch the errands (unless they require you going to a shopping centre, then by all means continue), ditch work (maybe just pop in on your lunch break) or even arrange to meet your clients in a cafe there and kick back and relax in the cool air-con. We could all do with a bit of retail therapy anyway!
Change your workout schedule
If your workout schedule involves exercising outside during the middle of the day, it’s probably best to change your schedule for the next few weeks.
Try doing your daily walks, weekly bootcamps, swims at the beach and fun in the park sessions early in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening when the sun isn’t at its hottest – trust me, it’ll save you the sun burn and the sock tan!
If the morning or afternoon is still too hot for you, you could always swap out those outdoor routines for an indoor one – it doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, just until it cools down.
Choose your attire carefully
If you’ve got to go outside during the soaring temperatures make sure you choose your clothing carefully!
Wear loose fitting and lightweight clothes, avoid any black clothing or synthetic fabrics; natural fibres such as cotton breathe so much better on the body. And remember to always take a hat and sunnies where ever you go!
Use pedestal fans and ceiling fans
Opening doors in the house and using fans to push the hot air outdoors can function as an “exhaust” system and draw cooler evening air into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows and promote as much air circulation as possible. However, in the morning when the sun rises, close all doors and windows, making sure to close curtains and blinds as well, to keep the indoors cool for as long as possible.
Take a bath
Well, duh! If you feel like you’re overheating, let off some steam by having a nice cool bath. Then, when you’re finished with your bath, just take a bucket and scoop out the water to water the plants.
Make it relaxing by using some aromatherapy bath salts and burning some candles. Ahhhhh, heaven!
If you can’t be bothered running the bath, you’re not at home to have one or you haven’t got one, grab a hand towel or tea towel, wet it and place it under your hat or on your forehand – that’ll cool you down for a while. You could also fill up a spray bottle with ice cold water and spray your face throughout the day (remember to wear waterproof mascara if you do this at work).
Head to the beach
If you are brave enough to go out in this sweltering heat, then the beach is the perfect place to cool down – providing you’ve got ample shade, a hat, sunglasses and you’re lathered in sunscreen.
If you are heading to the beach, these are the spots Surf Life Saving Queensland recommends you visit.
Create your own rice-sock ice pack
Simply take an old sock, stuff it full of rice and put it into the freezer for a few hours. Stay cool at night by placing it under the covers with you. Rice retains the cold for long periods of time. Or for an even colder version, fill a plastic sandwich bag with ice cubes, seal it and stuff that in an old sock too. Won’t last as long, and there is a chance it might leak, but it will be colder than the rice.
Lend a helping hand
Aged people have less tolerance to heat due to their age, so make sure you check in on the retired and elderly people near you. They can also be taking medications that can dehydrate the body, meaning that some elderly patients may be even more vulnerable to the effects of hot temperatures. So stop by, make sure they are drinking enough water, and that they turn on their air conditioning or fans.
Heatwave survival kit
A heatwave survival kit isn’t just for heatwaves, but also for the storms that the summer heat and humidity can bring. Make sure your kit is prepped and packed before the summer temperatures really rise.
Prepare your kit with all the following items and keep it in an easily accessible location. Make sure you include a battery-operated radio (with spare batteries), torch (with spare batteries), first aid kit and medications you need, a change of clothes, toiletry and sanitary supplies, special needs for infants, the aged and people with disabilities, water in sealed containers – ten litres per person (for three days), pet food, water and other animal needs, house repair items such as timber strips, hammers and nails for temporary repairs, mobile phone and charger, strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables, documents, and photos) and spare car and house keys.
How do you plan on keeping cool this summer? Let us know in the comments below!