Some may cheer about the warm summer! But what is one person’s joy can be another person’s suffering: Not all of them can take the heat equally well. While younger and healthy people usually adapt well, the extreme heat can become a burden, especially for older and sick people.
This is especially true when several hot, windless days with high humidity are lined up and the nights do not bring any significant cooling. In cities, in particular, there are so-called tropical nights, as many buildings absorb the radiation more during the day and thus store the heat. Statistics show that hot days can also be problematic for healthy people. Accordingly, the number of accidents on the roads due to concentration increases significantly on warm days.
But many see warm summers primarily as a blessing. They enjoy refreshing visits to the outdoor pool, mild barbecue evenings, hearty pub excursions and many other outdoor activities. And it can remain enjoyable if a few simple rules and tips for dealing with heat and sun are observed.
On hot days, the body needs more fluids because it sweats more. Listen to your thirst and keep an eye on family members. Children often ignore their thirst while playing. Only in the case of some illnesses such as severe kidney or heart failure do you have to limit the amount you drink in consultation with your doctor.
With increasing age, the feeling of thirst is usually reduced, so that a lack of fluids happens more quickly.
Mineral water, juice spritzers and lukewarm herbal teas are ideal. Isotonic drinks or water with mineral additives are also suitable for people who do intensive sport.
It is better not to use ice-cold drinks. They give the body the signal to increase heat production.
Even those who travel by plane need more fluids due to the dry cabin air. An additional litre per two-hour flight. Tip: get a large bottle of water at the airport after you go through security.
Place a bowl with ice cubes in front of a standard table fan. The ice cubes cool the airflow, which can also lower the room temperature. Even if the method does not come close to the efficiency of air conditioning, it can still relieve the heat a little in between.
Almost every fourth person reckons that their health was worse during a heatwave, compared to normal summer days. In the case of women, it was even more than one in two.
People who are used to living in a hot climate most of the year, on the other hand, showed themselves to be more tolerant of heat, and some do even better in extreme heat.
According to the worldatlas.com, every Australian consumes around 18 liters of ice cream every year. That corresponds to around 250 balls. Which is not as much as New Zealand which apparently consumes around 28 liters per person per year. But whether chocolate or vanilla: ice cream now and then is simply part of the summer.
How a high temperature at night’s sleep affects concentration during the day was shown by American researchers based on a study with 44 students from the greater Boston/Massachusetts area (USA).
Twenty-four of the young people stayed in a non-air-conditioned dormitory during a five-day heatwave. It took them significantly longer for small test tasks that they had to complete every morning than their fellow students, who slept in cooler rooms.
A room temperature of 18 degrees is ideal for a good night’s sleep. A lukewarm shower before bed can also help. Wear loose, light sleeping clothes – ideally made of silk or linen – and use a thin blanket. With too thin nightwear and with drafts, however, the body threatens to cool down because it cannot regulate its core temperature so well at night.
The interior of a parked car can reach dizzying temperatures in a matter of minutes. For this reason, animals, children, the elderly or people in need of care may not be left alone in the car, even for a short period of time.
This is how you can get the car cool quickly: Open the windows and doors for a few minutes before getting in. Set the air conditioning to the coldest setting and the fan to recirculation mode. After a few minutes, close the window, set the air conditioning to fresh air and adjust the temperature to the comfort level. When looking for a parking space, consider the course of the sun: A shaded parking space can be in the blazing sun after just a few minutes.
The warm season invites you to take part in sporting activities. “Although our body’s own air conditioning system is a very sophisticated system, it also devours a lot of energy. And the heart and energy metabolism have to generate this energy,” says the sports doctor Predel. You shouldn’t underestimate that.
Therefore: On hot days, it is better to relocate sporting activities to the early morning hours or the mornings. Temperatures and ozone pollution are highest in the afternoon. If you want to burn calories later in the evening, you should do so in a moderate way or at least two hours before going to bed. Otherwise, training that is too intense could deprive you of sleep.
It would be nice if employees were entitled to “heat-free” time. The fact is: At office temperatures of over 26 degrees Celsius, the employer “should” take measures to make the employees’ working hours bearable. This can be the provision of fans, air conditioning units or cooler workrooms.
Because the body also transports blood to the superficial veins due to the heat, vein problems increase. The legs become thick and heavy, the skin itchy, and varicose veins cause discomfort. Here some venous toning measures:
In the summer months, the UV index is part of the weather report. The weather service uses this to describe the regional intensity of solar radiation. It changes daily depending on the weather, the position of the sun and the cloud cover. Try to stay out of the Sun if the UV index is very high.
Medicines and Supplements do not always tolerate high temperatures. Some preparations lose their effectiveness or are even less well tolerated. They can:
Suppositories can soften, ointments and creams with emulsifiers split into an aqueous and an oily phase. Medicinal plasters change their structure and can release too many active ingredients at once. Insulin and blood sugar test strips are also sensitive to heat. You can get suitable cooling bags for transport.
Heat and humidity can stick the active ingredients in spray devices, for example in asthma sprays. You will then no longer be given the correct dose.
Patients who take antihypertensive drugs run the risk of the values falling too low on hot days. In some cases, after consulting your doctor, the dosage may have to be reduced a little temporarily.
Some medicines can make the skin more sensitive to light. Sunburns can occur much earlier. Sun protection preparations with a high sun protection factor of 50+ are particularly important. Ask whether your medication increases photosensitivity.
Some medicines and supplements need to be stored under 30C. So some items you might have out in Winter need to go in the fridge in Summer. Always check the label!
Solar radiation on the head can irritate the meninges.
Symptoms: headache or nausea.
The body becomes increasingly overheated.
Symptoms: dizziness, thirst, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, irritability.
Severe overheating with a danger to life, especially in older and chronically ill people. Often occurs with a time delay.
Symptoms: confusion, convulsions, loss of consciousness.