How To Survive A Heatwave: Tips for Coping in Hot Weather | Jo Linsdell

How To Survive A Heatwave: Tips for Coping in Hot Weather

How To Survive A Heatwave: Tips for Coping in Hot Weather

How To Survive A Heatwave 

Tips for Coping in Hot Weather

Here in Rome we're currently on red alert for the heatwave, over 40°C/104°F plus humidity. Recently I was a guest on BBC World Service OS Radio Show to chat about the heatwave, climate change and share some tips on how we deal with the heat here in Rome. As a lot of people are struggling with heatwaves this time of year, I thought I'd share some tips on how to survive during the hot summer months here too.

I've lived in Rome since July 2001 and had to adapt to the hot summer weather we have here (very different to what I was used to growing up in the UK). Over the years I've learnt some things that help deal with the heat.

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Tips to Keep You Cool During a Heatwave

1) Stay hydrated

Although obvious, staying hydrated is very important and so has to be number one on this list. Water is the best option but ice lollies are also a great choice, especially for kids. 

2) Cool showers

It's tempting to live in the bathroom during a heatwave. Cool showers or baths are a good way to lower your body temperature and freshen up. If that's not an option, soaking your feet in cool water will also help.

3) Air conditioning and fans

We finally got an air conditioning unit installed in our flat this year and I already don't know how we coped without it! We live on the 7th floor of a south facing apartment and as heat rises you can image how hot it gets during the peak hours of the day. 

Air conditioners can be expensive though (everything is getting more and more expensive of late) and so we have to find a balance between the need to cool off and saving our electric bill. We tend to use it during the hottest hours of the day and then again for a few hours in the evening in the hopes of actually getting some sleep (one of the biggest problems during a heatwave).

When you can't use an air conditioner fans are good. Placing a metal bowl of ice or frozen water bottles in front of the fan will help cool the room. 

4) Close the curtains

Keeping your curtains or blinds closed during the day helps stop the heat getting into the house.

5) Cotton bed sheets

During the summer months here in Rome the only bedding you need is a sheet to cover the mattress. Natural materials like cotton are best.

6) Reduce cooking time

If you need to cook it's best to do so either in the early hours of the morning or late evening. Meals you can warm up quickly in a microwave or that can be eaten cold later are best. Also, when possible, cooking on a grill outside.

During the summer months we get creative with salads. Throw in some seeds like Flax, Chia, or sesame for variety and added protein. Rice salads and pasta salads are typical this time of year. Grilled vegetables like zucchini, aubergines, etc... are quick to prepare. Fresh fruit is also a must.

7) Nap during the hottest parts of the day

Sleeping is a big problem during the summer heat. You toss and turn all night leaving you tired even before the high temperatures of the day kick in. This is why in a lot of European countries we have a siesta. Even a short nap after lunch can help.

8) Water fountains

In Rome we're lucky to have water fountains everywhere. When you need to be out and about in the heat make sure you take a bottle with you so you can refill at the water fountains. It really is a blessing.

Having a small cloth you can wet and use as a cold press is a good idea too. Soak the cloth in the water at the fountain, squeeze to get rid of excess wet, then apply to your pulse points; neck, wrists, etc... 

9) Light clothing

If you're just at home underwear is more than enough 😂 If you need to leave your house make sure you're wearing light weight, loose fitting clothing. Light colours that reflect the light are best. Natural fabrics like cotton are also recommended.

10) Shopping centres

Shopping centres are you friend. When everything else fails head to a shopping centre. They all have air conditioning!

11) Beach or pools

Here in Rome we're lucky to have a lot of parks with trees that offer some shade from the sun but during a heatwave you want to be close of water. We're also lucky to have quite a few outdoor swimming pools. These tend to be expensive and fill up fast during the summer months though. You're best calling ahead to reserve a space. 

The best option is to head to the beach. Rome's closest beach is Ostia. It's easy and quick to reach using the metro.

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How To Survive A Heatwave: Tips for Coping in Hot Weather

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