Be safe as European countries bask in record breaking temperatures

Expats and second home owners in many European countries will have been basking in record -breaking temperatures this summer.

European countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece and even the UK and Sweden have all been enjoying hotter than usual summers.

Yet while the hot weather is great for sun seekers, there can be a downside. Huge fires have engulfed Portugal Algarve and Greece and Sweden, while in Spain at least three people have already died because of the heat.

“Going to Europe is not the same anymore,” explains Linda Greenberg, CMO of Smart Lemur travel site. “When a heatwave strikes, travellers should take the same precautions as if they were going to Dubai in the summer, which is known for its desert weather and extreme heat. The clothing should be appropriate, people should equip themselves with reusable water bottles, UV protection, hats and so on. Extreme heat can be really dangerous.”

Here is Smart Lemur’s advice on staying safe and having fun in Europe’s extreme heat.

  1. Time your activities. Spending some time walking through a city or going to the beach might seem like no big deal, but when temperatures near or pass 40os, the sun can cause a lot of damage and even cost lives. Stay out of the sun as much as possible during the day. Enjoy your activities early in the morning or late in the evening. There’s plenty to do in every European country, from hiking, biking, beach and so on. When a heatwave hits, it’s best to wake up early for your activities. During the day, you can enjoy your rest time – for example, a siesta in Spain – or visit some air-conditioned places, such as museums or shopping malls. The towns and cities will again become alive at night.
  2. Don’t go out without UV protection. Invest in a good, organic sunscreen. Exposure to sun in extreme heat can lead to skin problems, burns, wrinkles, and even cancer. Use a sunscreen with a mid-range SPF and re-apply it regularly to ensure you remain protected from harmful UV rays.
  3. Use appropriate clothing. Wearing sleeveless tops and shorts expose more skin, which can lead to greater moisture loss in a very short period of time. This leads to dehydration. Choose to wear loose, comfortable clothing in lightweight coloured fabrics to counter the effects of high temperatures. Look for lightweight wools and moisture-wicking performance fabrics. Also consider linen, seersucker, or a lightweight chambray.
  4. Protect your head. When the sun is beating down on you, you need to protect your head. Keep it safe from the sun with a hat – make sure it also shields your neck and forehead from the sun. You can also soak your bandana in cold water and put it on for a refreshing feeling.
  5. Drink a lot of water. It might seem as a no-brainer that drinking a lot of water will help you prevent dehydration, but many people forget to carry a bottle with them. Always carry a bottle of water with you, and sip it at regular intervals – it’s much better than gulping the whole bottle at once. Lack of water in extreme temperatures can lead to a sunburn or even heatstroke.
  6. Look for water fun and beaches. There is so much to enjoy in the summer in Europe – there are water parks with water slides, lakes and rivers. Find out what’s around you and take a day for some water fun.
  7. Eat less but more often. We don’t feel very hungry during extreme heat, but those who want to get some energy should enjoy lighter meals at more frequent intervals – such as vegetables, juices, soups, salads and fruit. Spicy foods are known to keep body temperature down by allowing you to sweat.
  8. Take lukewarm showers. If you can’t access any water parks, beaches or lakes, take a tepid shower during the day. This will regulate your body temperature and allow you to cool down.

Article published 9th August 2018