Beat the hot weather: top tips for staying cool
Heatwaves are on the rise around the world. And because of climate change, they are getting hotter and longer.
While a bask in the sunshine is a wonderful thing, extreme heat can be deadly, affecting people living in cities and towns, younger and older people and those with chronic health conditions.
But there's lots we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Here are a few tips for keeping your cool during the heatwave - and why you shouldn't believe some of those old myths. Together, we can stay safe and #BeatTheHeat.
1. Wetter is better
Yes, really! Heat escapes through the skin, so the larger the area being cooled down, the better.
So forget that old myth about rubbing ice cubes on the wrists to cool the whole body. In baking hot weather, drenching a t-shirt, and keeping it wet, can be really effective. And if you don't want to walk around like a swamp monster, a cool shower would work just as well.
2. Drink plenty of water
See all that sweat pouring out of you? It needs to be replaced or you'll dehydrate.
Glug back loads of water and, if possible, isotonic sports drinks to replenish lost salts, sugars and fluids.
3. Hold back the booze
Blazing sun; high spirits; too many drinks.
We've all seen where this road ends, and it's not pretty. Alcohol causes dehydration, which can hit especially hard if your body's already struggling to cope with the weather. Try to drink in moderation.
4. Forget that vindaloo
Another myth: eating a curry will make you sweat more and cool the skin.
You'll be far better off sticking to well-balanced, light and regular meals. And plenty of water, of course.
5. Limit physical activity to cooler parts of the day
That early morning run may feel punishing when you're nice and sleepy in bed, but try doing it in the blazing midday sun! If you can, limit physical activity to cooler parts of the day to avoid heatstroke or exhaustion.
6. Know the risks
Many people believe that heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the same thing, but heatstroke is potentially far more serious.
Heat exhaustion is caused when the body loses excessive water, salt and sugars through sweating. It can be treated simply by having plenty to drink, keeping out of the sun and cooling down.
Heatstroke occurs when the body's temperature becomes dangerously high and is no longer able to cool itself. Symptoms include hot, flushed and dry skin, and also confusion, headache, nausea and muscle cramps.
Heatstroke can develop with little warning and quickly lead to the person becoming unresponsive. So it's vital to cool them down as quickly as possible by wrapping them in a wet sheet or clothing and dialling 999.