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How to keep cool during Austria's heatwave

The Local · 2 Jul 2015, 10:43

Published: 02 Jul 2015 10:43 GMT+02:00

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Temperatures across Austria continue to rise this week, with highs of 38C forecast in the east of the country by Friday.

The soaring temperatures may be welcome for some but can be dangerous for the elderly and young people. We think it's best to stay ahead of the game, so here are some crucial tips to staying cool as the mercury rises.

Drink water

It might sound obvious, but be sure to drink plenty of water - even when you're not thirsty. It's recommended that you drink at least somewhere between 1.5 and 2 litres per day.

Stay inside

Try and avoid going outside between the hours of 11am and 9pm. If you have to, then be sure to wear loose, light clothes, preferably cotton as it lets your skin breathe. And it’s not a bad idea to dampen your clothes, which has a cooling effect to the skin and lowers your temperature.

Shut the blinds

On the home front, keep the blinds closed throughout the hottest hours of the day. When the temperature outside drops below that of your home, open the windows and doors and let the place aerate.

Douse yourself in water

There are plenty of ways to keep hydrated besides just drinking water and taking showers and baths. Filling a bucket with water for your feet or placing a wet or damp towel on your head and shoulders can make a big difference. Even a little spray with water can keep you feeling fresh. Avoid freezing cold showers though, as your body will react to a dramatic change like this by trying to preserve heat. It’s better to use lukewarm water, around 20C.

Get rid of the extra heat

If you're at home, turn off the big lights, only use your laptop if you have to, and eat fresh food rather than using the oven.

A dip in the river will cool you off, but sit in the shade and don't forget suncream. Photo: galleryhip

Don't play sports

Skip your afternoon run and say no to your handball teammates - it's best not to over-exert yourself at all. Even going outside to do the gardening is not advised.

Be aware of the risks

You might be in peak physical form, but not everyone else is. Remember that children under the age of four and the elderly are the most at risk when the heat strikes.

Stay in the coolest parts of the house

Be sure to find the coolest part of the house and make sure that's the area you spend the most time in. If your place has no air conditioning nor an electric fan, then you're advised to head somewhere that does. Go and spend at least a few hours in a cinema or a shopping centre. If you do have a fan, it will be more effective if it’s placed next to an open window in the evening as it will draw air from outdoors, which should be cooler.

Recognize symptoms of heat-related illnesses

If you or someone close to you is complaining of cramps, headaches, dizziness, or has a fever of over 38C, this is a clear sign they're suffering from the heat. Keep the person cool and call emergency services for help.  

Be careful what you drink

Tea, coffee, and alcohol all act as diuretics, meaning it will leave you dehydrated. Stick to water. And on the plus side, this means you won't have to turn the kettle on either!

Photo: Peta

Don't forget your furry friends

Your pets also suffer from intense heat, so make sure you think of them too. Be sure to keep an eye on them, give them plenty of water, and the occasional cool bath. And don’t leave your dog in a parked car!

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