How to stay safe in high heat and dry weather

Mature woman is feeling bad during the heat wave in city
Travelling in extreme heat can be risky. (Getty Images)

Every summer, millions of Britons travel to warmer climes to soak up the sun and surf. But, as heatwaves become more common and climate change brings more severe weather patterns, it’s important to enjoy the warmth while still staying safe.

Some parts of the world have seen intense heatwaves over the last couple of months, including large swathes of South Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as southern Europe, including Greece.

In the coming summer months, Britons travelling abroad to such countries - where temperatures have reached nearly 40C - should prepare themselves to cope with the extreme heat, including knowing when not to go outside.

In extreme heat, it might be a good idea to cancel any outdoor plans and stay indoors. Nausheen Farishta, travel expert and founder of Globe Gazers, tells Yahoo UK: "It gets dangerous to be outside for long periods of time as the temperature approaches 38C, even if you’re merely sitting in the shade.

"Extended exposure to high temperatures strains the body and increases the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Particularly at risk are small children, the elderly, and people with long-term illnesses."

If you do want to go out and explore, the best times of day to do so are in the early mornings and evenings, before and after temperatures reach their peak.

"The coolest times are early morning before 10am and evening after 4pm," Farishta adds. "Midday is the most dangerous time. Plan indoor activities then, or stick to highly shaded areas. Wear light, breathable clothing and a hat for sun protection. Take frequent cooling breaks and watch for signs of heat stress like headache and nausea."

You should carry water with you at all times during very hot weather. (Getty Images)
You should carry water with you at all times during very hot weather. (Getty Images)

Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s even more crucial when in hot, dry weather.

The NHS does not recommend a particular amount of water you should drink on a daily basis, but advises that "most people should drink enough during the day so their pee is a clear pale yellow colour".

It adds that you may need to drink more fluids if you are in a hot environment.

Boots superintendent pharmacist Claire Nevinson adds: "Staying hydrated is vital on a warm day to help ensure you do not overheat and become dehydrated. Aim to drink a glass of water soon after waking and continue to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a reusable bottle with you and avoid excess alcohol as this will dehydrate you."

If you are out in the hot sun and find yourself in trouble without a phone, there are several things you can do to try and avoid dehydration or sun stroke while you get to safety.

Farishta advises that you should seek air conditioning or shade immediately, and head to public buildings if possible where there may be people to help. You can also try waving down passing vehicles if you’re on a remote road.

You should also remove any unnecessary layers, and, if you have water with you, apply cool water to the skin to stop yourself from overheating.

Knowing the signs of heat stroke is extremely useful. These include:

  • Tiredness

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Feeling sick or being sick

  • Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash

  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach

  • Fast breathing or heartbeat

  • A high temperature

  • Being very thirsty

  • Weakness

"Get emergency help fast in those cases. Don’t take chances in extreme heat," Farishta adds.

Nicky Kelvin, travel expert and editor at The Points Guy, provides six of his top tips for staying safe while travelling in the heat.

Avoid peak sun hours: When travelling it is wise to stay indoors during the height of the midday heat, and escape the worst of the high temperatures. However if you are planning a day outside, try and stick to shady areas ie. under a tree at the park, or walk on the shaded side of the pavement.

Limit physical exertion: Walking and exploring destinations is often the reason we want to visit them in the first place, but when it is super-hot it is important not to do too much. Try and take breaks after every half an hour, and definitely avoid intensive exercise such as running.

Stay hydrated: Dehydration, sunstroke and heat exhaustion can send travellers to the hospital. When you’re visiting hot places make sure you are carrying water bottles with you. And if you can’t, make sure you are stopping plenty of times to re-fuel and take on some liquid before starting out again.

Wear cool clothing: Wearing light-fitting, loose clothing is important for when you’re travelling to hot places. Also pack light colours, and avoid items which are black or dark blue, as these tend to absorb more heat. Trying to pack a brimmed hat is also a good idea, offering additional protection for your head and face.

Sunscreen: Sun protection is the most important thing when it’s hot. You should be wearing this on your face every day, but it is especially important when you’re travelling to hot places, as it’s not always about the sun on your face, but also the UV protection. This is especially important for sunbathing. My recommendation is to opt for Factor 50 – no less than 30!

Pack a portable fan: If there is little wind at the destination you’re travelling to, try your best to create your own. Packing a mini air fan can be a life-saver – just make sure to charge it each day before heading out.

Read more about sun protection: