With the consistent heatwaves that have hit Europe and had people dipping their heads in the fountains and the unusual snowfall South Africa has been experiencing this winter, it’s a good idea to know how to get through these extreme and unusual weather conditions.
If you’re feeling a little apprehensive about your upcoming trip to Europe amid images of people standing next to record-breaking temperate gauges, these tips will help you keep cool, calm, and collected on your holiday.
- Hydrate: Even if you’re not thirsty, drink lots of water regularly throughout the day. Try to stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, especially during the heat of the day, as they contribute to dehydration.
- Close the Curtains: Keeping the curtains closed will trap the cool air inside and block out sunlight from shining through and heating up the house.
- Find cool places: Use a fan to cool you down if you’re inside. Spend time in places like libraries and shopping malls that are usually kept nice and cool.
- Take a cold shower: Taking a cold shower will lower your body temperature and cool you down for a while. If you find the heat getting too much, hop into the shower.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Wear clothes with breathable materials, light colours, loose-fitting, and lightweight to help you stay cool.
- Limit strenuous and outdoor activities: Don’t partake in strenuous physical activities, particularly at the hottest times of the day. Try to spend the hottest parts of the day inside, generally between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Learn signs of heat-related illnesses: Inform yourself of symptoms for heat-related illnesses like heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
- Follow heat advisories: The warnings issued by authorities should be heeded to protect yourself from the extreme heat.
South Africa’s cold fronts are always a little chillier than we expect and leave us all complaining about our poorly insulated homes and clothing that doesn’t do the job.
The next time the snow drops in Johannesburg, try out these helpful tips to stay a little warmer.
- Layers: Your mother, her mother, and the mothers that came before that have all given the same winter advice: Dress in layers. Multiple layers of clothes trap heat and keep you warmer. Start with a thermal base (as thermal as you can find in South Africa), and end with a windbreaker or rain jacket.
- Warm accessories: Your head, neck, and hands are particularly vulnerable to losing heat, so wearing a hat, scarf, and gloves will keep you warm and toasty.
- Socks: Wearing warm socks can help you feel warmer and cosier. Heat is lost through your extremities, so ensuring your feet are covered, will ensure you stay a little warmer.
- Heated blanket: Heated blankets are much more eco-friendly than a radiator or heaters as they use less electricity. Use a heated blanket at night, when temperatures drop even more.
- Warm meals: Eating delicious, warm meals helps your body generate heat.
- Avoid Alcohol: Drinking alcohol may bring on a feeling of warmth while drinking, but it also causes your body to lose heat faster. During extremely cold fronts, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
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