This week, the Met Office issued its first ever ‘Red Extreme Heat’ warning with temperatures forecast to reach 40°C (104°F) early next week. Only 0.5% of UK homes have air-conditioning. For the rest of us dealing with an unprecedented heatwave, Australian Ellie Mackin – who’s used to such temperatures – posted some excellent advice on Twitter. She has kindly allowed us to publish it to reach a wider audience.
I am a genuine Australian, here is some advice regarding dealing with the heat that’s heading to England… if you have no aircon.
1. Close your curtains. All the way. During the entire day. You can open them at night, when you will also (if possible) open your windows the whole way, and direct any fans to make a though breeze.
2. Buy or procure by some other means a mister or spray bottle. Fill it with water. Mist as necessary. Also good for keeping pets cool – which is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
3. If you can, stock up on ice. While yes, a nice cool beverage with ice is wonderful, this is also mainly about your pets. Ensure that you are topping up their water with ice regularly! If you have no pets, stock up on slightly less ice, for your own beverages.
5. Take a towel of any size (even just washcloths/facewashers will do!). Thoroughly wet them in cold water and ring as much water out as possible (do this in a plugged bath to save water!). Tightly cover the towel in cling film (plastic bags also fine!) and keep in the freezer.
For smaller towels, these can be unwrapped and draped about the body at will. For larger towels, move them to the fridge around an hour before you want to use it. Excellent for sleeping underneath.
6. If you feel you are overheating, the two places on your body you need to focus on cooling down quickly (before then dealing properly with the issue!) are the crown of your head and your feet. Soak your feet in cold water – as cold as you can stand. Then drink lots of water.
7. Heatstroke is no joke pals. Make sure you know the signs of heatstroke (for adults, children, and any pets you have!). In a genuine case of heatstroke, skip the feet and go straight for an icepack to the armpits. Yes seriously.
The ice pack to the armpits is STEP ONE. Following this, seek medical advice and/or attention!
8. When at home, wear as little as you like, but if you’re going on in the sun: obviously wear the highest SPF sunscreen you have, wear a hat, wear sunglasses, wear loose fitting, light and LONG SLEEVED clothing. Put sunscreen UNDER your clothing. Stay out of direct sun.
9. If you are dehydrated (and an adult, and able to do so) drink a half a pint of beer (inc. alcohol free!) and then move straight onto water (or a sports drink or cordial if you don’t like water).
10. And my final piece of advice: HYDRATE. Don’t drink too much coffee, and don’t drink too much booze. Neither of those things are going to do you the world of good. But do drink plenty of fluids.
(I know I said hydrate twice. It’s really important)
As I’ve woken up to thousands of notifications from a thread that was just meant to help some of my friends out, I want to say my use of “genuine Australian” was tongue-in-cheek, and I want to acknowledge the Boonwurrung people as the traditional owners of the land I grew up on.
You can find the latest forecast on the Met Office website, by following them on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on their mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store.