How to survive a heatwave. Tips on how to stay cool

When ever heat builds up the result for populated areas is a heatwave sometimes it's going to get quite hot.

Here are a few ways to beat the heat — and they have nothing to do with picking up an air conditioner remote.

Shut up the house

Closing your curtains to block out the sunlight seems like the obvious thing to do, especially if the sun's beating down on the house.

Be prepared for the heat

Heatwaves kill far more people than other natural disasters.

In the house keep it as cool as possible provided you have a light-coloured backing on your curtains.

Over all curtains them selves do not effectively block the heat.

If the outward-facing side of the curtain is light in colour, some of the sun will be reflected out, but the curtain absorbs the heat, changing its form to long-wave infrared,

That heat doesn't pass through glass so it can't be reflected back out.

The curtain then becomes a heater.

However awnings or external window coverings are best as they'll stop direct sunlight from the outside meaning it won't hit the glass.

But if cladding your house in awnings isn't an option for you, a quick-fix is getting cheap shade cloth and temporarily fixing it to the outside of the window.

Cut the cloth just slightly bigger than the window and find a way to fix it to the external frame,

Keep windows and doors closed and shut up the house early in the day before the sun has a chance to warm up the house.

Wind, water and ice

It's good to close up your rooms if you're running an air conditioner, but you should keep the bedroom door open if you're sleeping with a fan on to allow for airflow.

Another advise is putting ice in front of a pedestal fan to blow the cool air across the room, creating an air conditioner effect.

Another DIY air conditioner tip  capitalises on the evening breeze.

Soak sheets in chilled water and hang them up over windows where there are no curtains,

Then fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the fridge to re-spray the sheets once they dry out.

Alternatively, you can turn the spray bottle on yourself.

Use a spray bottle in the same room as the fan to spray mist over your skin — the outcome is a rush of cool that evaporates off your skin that can be repeated again and again,

Another option is to put wet cloths around your neck and soak your feet in a cold bucket of water.

While soaking your entire outfit in water, ringing it out and wearing damp clothes around the house.

Wash your hair

Another cool-down method is to run your head under cold water.

If you're washing your hair, have the shower as cool as you can stand and towel dry your hair just enough so it isn't dripping but it's still damp.

Rather than using a hair drier,  is to position yourself in front of a fan —  that way you've effectively turned your head into an evaporative cooler,

If you're not interested in walking around in damp clothing or with a wet head, you can localise the cooling power to your wrists.

Place your wrists or inside of your arms under cold running water for about 30 seconds, as these areas are where your blood flows closest to the surface of your skin,

This will help cool you down.

But if you don't want to spend all your time at the sink, wearing wristbands soaked in cold water would have the same effect.

Lighten up your wardrobe

This is no time for black skinny jeans or leggings.

If you have to brave the outdoors, the advice is to wear light clothing to reflect the heat and sunlight.

And it goes without saying that opting for loose, lightweight clothing is by far a better option than close-fitting clothes.

Stick to natural fibres like cotton, linen and silk, which allow the skin to breathe.

Fabrics with a high polyester content can raise your body temperature and trap heat inside.

Don't sleep naked

It sounds counterintuitive, and some sleep organisations even encourage nude sleeping in heatwaves,  covering up if you want to sleep through a hot night.

Sleeping naked can actually make you feel even hotter as it does not allow moisture to evaporate between your body and sleeping surface,

Cotton clothing is ideal. Avoid synthetic fabrics which can make you feel hotter.

If you're wearing a natural fabric like cotton it acts as a wick for your sweat,

It can increase the surface area for the sweat to evaporate, thus may make you feel much cooler.

And no snuggling up in bed

We're not trying to destroy your love life, but this one's a no-brainer.

On hot nights, those who share a bed should stick to separate sides.

A hot night is not a time for cuddles,

Give your partner a bit of room.

It's worth noting this advice also extends to pets.

If your pet sleeps with you and 'warms up' the bed, it may be time to find them a different place to sleep,

It's all about positioning

If you're one of those people who can't sleep without a sheet on you,  sticking a foot out could make you more comfortable.

If you need to have a sheet over you, try leaving your feet out of the sheet, as body heat will escape via your feet,

Changing your sleep position may help. You may feel cooler by lying on your back stretched out.

Stick to salads

The last thing you want to be doing is turning on the oven at a time like this.

The advice across the board is to eat cool foods, such as salads and fruits — watermelon was a favourite.

This not only cools you from the inside but also eliminates the extra heat that ovens and stovetops generate.

If you must cook, it's best to fire up the barbecue outside rather than cooking in the kitchen.

Gorging on big meals is a bad idea, however: the advice is to eat the same amount you normally would, but spread it out over the course of the day.

But, unfortunately, this doesn't mean you should spend all day grazing on platters of meat and cheese.

A Queensland Government factsheet specifically singles out meat and dairy products as foods to steer clear of.

Avoid heavy-protein foods, which raise body heat and increase fluid loss,

Put down the espresso martini

The advice across the board is to keep your fluids up, but stick to water where you can. Fruit juice is another good option.

Alcohol is out, as it increases dehydration.

And caffeinated drinks should also be avoided, so limit your coffee and tea intake.

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