5 ways to keep your family cool in a heat wave

Most of us relish a spell of sunshine. It’s a chance to apply a dollop of factor-15 and head out into the garden for a barbeque. With that said, there is such a thing as too much heat! When muggy weather turns your bedroom into a sauna, getting to sleep can be a challenge. Similarly, if you’re out and about, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke all pose a threat. Children are at particular risk, which is why keeping kids cool during a heat-wave is so important.

Here’s five tips that’ll make keeping cool in a heat wave straightforward - both in the home and out of it.

1. Drink the Right Fluids

Three glass jars with cold water and fruit in

With dehydration being a pressing risk, be sure that you’re stocked up on fluids. Water is ideal, but the kids might find fruit cordial a little more palatable. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is packed with sugar, and thus probably worth avoiding. The same goes for caffeinated drinks like coffee oreven alcohol, because they contribute to dehydration ( as they must be eliminated from the bloodstream by the kidneys, which requires removing water from the body).

That’s not to say that you can’t treat the family to a round of ice-cream; just be sensible and make sure everyone’s got enough water to last the duration of your trip. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness and intense thirst, all of which results in flared tempers. If you’re midway through a family stroll through the park, then this isn’t going to be much fun, so pack a bottle of water or two.

2. Invest in Great Bedsheets

Double bed by the window with red bed sheets, a book and coffee

At home, the bedroom is where hot weather can really be a nuisance. Sweat is one of the ways in which your body regulates heat – but if you’re already covered in it, your skin won’t be able to cool you down anywhere near as efficiently. That’s why hot, humid nights are more uncomfortable than dry ones.

People try all sorts of strange tricks to get the temperature of their sheets down. Some swear by sticking the sheets in the freezer for a few minutes just before bed, on the grounds that the chill will last for just long enough for sleep to kick in.

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton are a godsend in the bedroom, as they’ll allow air to circulate around your entire body, reducing the overall temperature and allowing you to enjoy some well-earned rest. So, a change of sheets might be what’s needed to keep things cool at night-time.

3. Grab some fans to keep cool

Little girl in striped dress in front of a red fan in home in summer

Fans are brilliant little inventions. They’re cheap to run, and they blow air right onto your skin. If you’d like a short-term blast of extra-cold air, you might position a stand-up fan behind a tray filled with ice cubes. They’ll take several hours to fully melt, during which time you’ll benefit from an icy breeze.

Given that Britain only experiences a few weeks of intense sunshine a year, the cost of a fully-featured air conditioning system might seem ‘over the top’. But, if you’re spending a lot of your time in one area, (like a small office or a lounge) then the investment might make more sense.

4. Got a basement? Convert it into a ‘cool’ room

Fancy basement with red sofa and games room

Heat rises. Consequently, the loft is often the sweatiest place to be, particularly at night time. By contrast, the space beneath your property is shielded from temperature fluctuations – which is why it’s used to store wine and other temperature-sensitive goods. This is also the reason it makes a great place to chill out when the weather’s on the warm side. With a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to convert yours into a lounge, games room or home cinema. Install a fan or two and you’d never know that it’s sunny outside!

5. Insulate your Property

Man in red top and blue overalls fitting loft insulation to a home in the summer

You might think of wall and loft insulation as a means of keeping heat inside your home during winter. But it’ll also ensure that your home is cool in the summertime.

If the sun has been beating down all day long, then that heat will be slowly transmitted to the interior over the course of the day – and by the evening it’ll be sweltering. That is, unless you’re protected by the right insulation.

Closing your curtains will also limit heat-gain, particularly on south-facing windows.

Keeping the place cool when it’s blisteringly hot is a challenge, but with the tips and tricks we’ve mentioned, we hope that you’ll find some relief!