This month....

August 2018

This month has kicked off with the heatwave still at full throttle. Stifling heat & little rain to speak of for the last 2 months. While the dry heat was great the humidity that crept in has been getting everyone down.

As a northern country we're not set up for extreme heat. Houses are built for warmth & the bricks retain the heat. In a city it simply bounces off the buildings heating the air & making it seem hotter than it actually is. Public transport is like an oven! With these prolonged high temperatures how to keep moving & how to keep cool?

The body normally regulates temperature via perspiration or sweating which evaporates in the air. The hotter you are, the more you sweat. As the sweat evaporates it cools the body down. When there's already high humidity in the atmosphere, however, the beads of sweat stay on the skin. This results in feeling clammy & sticky rather than cooled. The body expends energy simply trying to keep cool & sweats more, losing water, minerals & salts. This is what makes us tired.

The first stop is hydration. Bizarrely it's easy to forget to drink in hot weather - or you may feel it's a waste of time considering it seems to go straight through! Think of it like a houseplant: if the earth is dry water simply floods straight out of the pot. If it's already moist then the water will hold better. So little & often throughout the day to keep hydrated & avoid dizziness & headaches.

Common sense means keeping to the shade at the hottest time of day, being most active when it's coolest, wearing loose clothing so the air can get to your skin, keeping meals light, avoiding too much alcohol or caffeine, slowing everything down. Choose the least busy bus & tube routes, the ones with air con, avoid the rush hour & carry a fan &/or moisturising spritz. Plenty of sunscreen & a parasol work too.

The best spritzes are made from floral waters or hydrolats, waters containing aromatic plant materials produced when essential oils are distilled. Healing in their own right they are perfect for children, the elderly, those in poor health or anyone with sensitive skin. Chamomile soothes irritated or burned skin, rose is lovely for the face, & peppermint is refreshing for tired feet. Hydrolats can also simply be sprayed in the air to provide a refreshing scent. Use just as they are.

In a heatwave everyone feels the heat so make sure to water pets & those houseplants too!

© Susan Mumford, 2018