Month: July 2015

Heatwave Hitting The UK

The highly aniticpated heatwave hitting the UK is being welcomed by many but how do you stay comfortable when the heat starts to climb?

When the sun comes out everybody’s attentions are focused purely on making the most out of summer as we like to enjoy the moment to its fullest. That includes fresh lemonade and ice cream or a day out in the parks, for some a nice pleasant afternoon in the outdoors with a book is more than enough to keep us relaxed and enjoying the weather to its most. Whilst having all this fun we sometimes overlook simple ideas that can make us slightly more comfortable when the heat begins to rise. Here are a few simple ideas which can sometimes be overlooked.

Don’t be afraid to get a little wet! According to Cambridge University physicist Lisa Jardine-Wright ‘the most obvious way to cool down is to dampen your clothes’. The natural process of your body allows the body to cool. When water changes from its natural liquid state to a gas, a source of heat energy is required to cause evaporation. This energy comes from within the body to cause a cooling effect on the skin as a result cooling the skin. So encourage your children to have a water fight and it might not be too farfetched to picture yourself joining in. “When I was cycling in France it was more than 40C and I soaked my T-shirt in water before I went out. But that’s a bit extreme,” Jardine-Wright adds. “Anything that involves evaporation is going to take the heat away from you.”

We all dream of diving head first into an outdoor swimming pool when the sun is scorching over our heads but sometimes it’s not always possible, so what can we do? To throw your hands into a bucket of cold water is the closest alternative. According to Mike Tipton, professor of human physiology at the University of Portsmouth the sudden change in temperature will help cool you down; but why your hands? He goes on to explain that when the core body temperature rises blood is sent directly to the surface. “Your hands have a high surface area – it’s like you have five radiators sticking out of your palm,” says Tipton. “As soon as the deep body temperature returns to normal, it slows the blood flow to your hands and you’ll feel cool.”

Circulating cool air is always important. We often use fans in the room or open our windows and doors to let in the fresh breeze and cool down our homes, but why not make use of them both? A fan in the centre of a room simply moves around the air which on a hot summer’s day is obviously warm. It does help cool you down as your sweat evaporates but there’s a better method says Jardine Wright. It’s much more effective to leave a fan next to an open window. This helps to circulate cool air from outside and bring it into the building. “You’re taking the cooler air from the outside and propelling it inside,” she says. “If there are no windows or doors open you’re just circulating the hot air.”

When the heat is sometimes too much the thought of a nice cold shower can be an entertaining thought but this does not have the desired effect we wanted and bring our body temperature down. Our bodies naturally react to sudden dramatic changes to temperature, so in the event you jump under a freezing shower the bodies is inclined to preserve its heat. “If I’m hot and I go under a cold shower, I’ll shut down the blood flow to the skin and trap the heat inside me rather than let it escape,” says Tipton. “It’s better to have a warmer shower that is cool enough to lower the deep body temperature but is warm enough to allow the blood to the surface of the skin.”

Finally if you chose to go away for a few days and enjoy the sun then don’t forget to read our article on home security tips and our award winning light switch timer.