It's a scorcher

Us Brits love to talk about the weather. 'It's always raining', 'where's the sun?', and most recently 'It's far too hot'. Rest assured we will soon be discussing rainfall again.

In the UK we're not always equipped to live comfortably in these 30+ temperatures. But we have been here before and there are some tried and tested ways to keep cool, stay hydrated and to protect your plants on the hot summer days.

 

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water every day is crucial for our health and wellbeing. A healthy body simply cannot function properly or survive without adequate hydration, and that becomes even more important in our older years. When people lose too much fluid through sweating, the blood thickens, increasing the risk of clots and forcing the heart to work harder. Heavy sweating also alters the balance of sodium and potassium in body fluids. This can affect nerve and muscle cells, placing further strain on the heart. It is important to drink regularly throughout the day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can cause you to urinate more frequently. Do not rely on thirst, which can be an unreliable indicator of hydration status.

Water helps:

  • Body temperature
  • Joint lubrication
  • Prevention of infections
  • Delivery of key nutrients to cells
  • Organ functionality
  • Removal of waste
  • Cognitive function and brain health

Our Audley care and club teams shared some advice on how to stay hydrated in the hot weather.

Top tip: Do not rely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration. Drink regularly throughout the day. Signs of dehydration include little to no urine, or darker than usual, a dry mouth, sleepiness or fatigue, extreme thirst, headaches, confusion, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

Alongside this, keep in mind all the ways you can save water at home and in the garden.

According to the National Trust, the average UK person uses 150 litres of water every day and 80% of us are wasting water regularly, probably by making one or more of the mistakes below.

More than 3 billion litres of water is lost through leaky pipes.

How to keep cool

  • Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day and don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can cause dehydration.
  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light coloured, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Direct sunlight heats the blood vessels in your skin, sending heat inwards towards your core and raising your body temperature.
  • Keep your hands, feet and face cool. The skin on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and upper parts of the face, contains a network of blood vessels devoted to rapid temperature management. Applying cold water or an ice pack to these areas hastens body cooling. Placing a cold flannel on the back of your neck can be very cooling.
  • Don't have a cold shower. Opt for a shower in tepid water instead. Longer immersion in cold water, such as going for a swim in a lake, will gradually cool the body – but a short cold shower doesn't have the same effect. Showering in tepid water is better because this will boost blood flow to the skin, increasing heat loss.
  • Keep curtains and windows closed during the day, especially in south-facing rooms.
  • Seek green spaces - Trees and plants absorb water through their roots and emit it through their leaves through a process called transpiration.
  • Avoid sunburn - Direct sunlight heats the blood vessels in your skin, sending heat inwards towards your core and raising your body temperature. It's best to use sunscreen as a last line of defence and opt for shaded areas, long-sleeved clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to reduce skin exposure.
  • Eat light or cold meals rather than heavy hot meals.
  • Look out for your neighbours and loved ones.

Protect your garden in the hot weather

Even the most loved, well-maintained garden can take a beating in the hot weather. Our gardeners have pulled together their top tips to keep your plants, flowers and lawn hydrated during these scorching temperatures.

By creating an eco-friendly garden you can encourage biodiversity, reduce emissions, and save water.

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