Key points about this information item Ten top tips for keeping cool in the Midi-Pyrenees summersInformation Description:
Ten Tips for Keeping Cool in the Midi-Pyrenees summers
The Midi-Pyrenees can become very hot during the summer months, with temperatures in the high 30's not uncommon and sometimes as high as 40 degrees. Keeping cool is important, particulalrly for the young and elderly.
Below are ten tips for keeping cool – some obvious, some not so obvious !
In the House :
- Keep all windows & doors firmly shut during the day – if people are going in and out to the pool, make sure that the door doesn’t stay open for any length of time.
- Close shutters against the sun – unless there is special film on the windows, the sun will heat up the glass & thus the interior of the house. Keep electrical use to a minimum – everything produces a certain amount of heat, especially halogen spotlights in kitchens & bathroom. If you don’t want to be totally in the dark, close traditional shutters so they form a triangle to the window & secure with the handle so there is a small gap that allows light through but not the sun’s rays. With modern roller shutters they can be left with gaps between the louvres. As the sun moves around you could reopen the shutters.
- Very early in the morning & late at night open wide as many shutters, windows & doors as is practicable & switch on any fans to move the air around – the coolest time of the day is in the early hours of the morning – so as early as possible before shutting them against the heat at around 09:00. In the evening, you will be able to tell when the external temperature is similar to the temperature in the house by walking outside & coming back into the house.
- Make a home-made air-conditioning unit – freeze plastic containers filled almost to the top with water. When they’re frozen, put them on a tray or dish to catch the condensation drips & place in front of a fan. The air that blows around the container will be cooler.
- Put cool compresses / flannels on pulse points – wrists, backs of the knees, ears. Also feet, face and back of the neck. Put your feet in a basin of cold water. Put a wet towel around your neck where it will cool your carotid artery.
- Fill a cold-water bottle to take to bed – if you have a hotwater bottle, fill it with cold water & put in the fridge until required. Alternatively, gel-filled packs for sprains could be used wrapped in a clean tea-towel. If you have a microwaveable wheat-filled ‘bottle’, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours wrapped in a plastic bag.
- Wear light-coloured clothes in natural fibres – dark colours attract the sun’s rays. If possible cover-up totally & dampen sleeves & the bottom of trousers or hems of long skirts. Wet children’s t-shirts – the evaporation of the water as it dries will cool them down.
- Stay in the shade – leafy, green shade is far cooler than fabric parasols as the leaves absorb the sun’s heat. Move away from stone, concrete or tiles which all absorb & radiate heat. Earth or grass is cooler.
- Spray water onto your face & pulse points – some restaurants & bars have installed misting devices over their terraces to spray a very fine mist of water above their clients to cool the atmosphere. You can buy aerosols of mineral water or make your own. If you are by a pool or other water, take regular dips, especially wetting your head. Let the water evaporate from your body rather than using a towel.
- Keep hydrated & eat more salt – drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t overdo it if you have any heart, liver or kidney conditions. Make sure children & elderly people are drinking water frequently. Never drink alcohol to stay cool. When we sweat from being hot or from exercise, we lose electrolytes which are essential to our body’s function. Contrary to everything we are hearing about too much salt in our diets, you should increase your salt intake to replace lost sodium and eat things like apricots, raisins & bananas to replace lost potassium.
If you are in a convertible car or on a boat, you are not aware of how hot it is. Make sure you use plenty of sunblock & keep your head covered.
Symptoms of heatstroke
If someone starts feeling sick & has a cold sweat or feels clammy & is possibly confused, they could be suffering from heatstroke or sunstroke. They should get out of the sun as soon as possible & use whatever methods are available to cool down rapidly. Drink water & replace electrolytes – by mixing a teaspoon each of salt & sugar in a glass of water, or by eating salty food & drinking sugary (not low-cal / lite) drinks. If these symptoms persist, contact emergency services immediately on 15 or 112 (or 911 on a mobile)
Météo-France map of weather warnings up dated on a daily basis.
Online plant sales, based in Escanecrabe, Midi-Pyrenees, France