The heat is on - 10 top tips to cope in a southern Spanish summer

Whether you have made Andalucia your permanent home, you're staying for a long sojourn over the summer months, or you're just here on holiday (or planning to be shortly), you will be aware of the extreme heat in July and August, especially in the inland cities such as Seville and Cordoba where the mercury routinely hits 40 degrees C, or 104 F. So what can you do to cope with these absurdly high temperatures? Here we offer some handy tips. Teprerature Forcast 1) Use air-conditioning, but within moderation. While it's hard to survive without those cooling blasts of air, too much air-con isn't great either, for your health or your bank balance, if you're the one paying the electricity bill. Many people will put it on for 20 minutes or so in the bedroom before retiring, to cool the room down to a bearable temperature for falling asleep. If you're going to a restaurant or house with air-con, take an extra layer as you can soon feel cold. 2) Shower regularly. Nothing cools down your body temperature like a shower (as well as ensuring you're sweet-smelling!). If you're not going out afterwards, don't dry off completely, as the water left on your body will keep you cool for a precious few more minutes. 3) High temperatures mean that we sweat a lot, and we need to drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids - at least five litres per day to keep hydrated, as well as eating salty food or snacks to replace the salts. This is especially true for young children and old people, who can quickly become dehydrated, and who need to be closely monitored. Beware of headaches, as these can be a sign of dehydration. 4) Mad dogs and Englishmen... get your errands done in the morning, before the mercury has risen too much - it will still be in the bearable high 20s or low 30s. Stay in the shade, drink water, don't exert yourself physically. By 1pm you'll be ready to jump in the shower/pool/sea. 5) If you have a long enough cable, put a fan in or near the window at night, so that it draws in the cooler evening air into your house - many buildings hold the heat for many hours after it's cooled off outside, hence why you see locals sitting in the street. Also, no-brainer - close curtains and shutters during the day to keep the sun out, then open them again at night to let that refreshing night fresquito air flow in.. 6) Put a flannel in the freezer - the ice-cold, damp piece of fabric will provide a few minutes' welcome relief. 7) Wear natural fabrics - a cotton sarong, which is loose, breathable, and leaves your arms free when tied around your neck, is perfect for wearing at home, in the garden, or around the hotel. 8) Make sure your laptop doesn't overheat - use a stand with a fan to dissipate the heat, and make sure the air vents are free from dust so it can "breathe". Don't leave your mobile phone out in the sun or in a car either, as it could overheat and shut down. Always leave devices in the shade - if they do overheat, take out of cases to cool down, and close battery-draining apps. 9) Wear a hat - shades your face from sunburn, protects your head from sunstroke. Baseball hat with peak or safari hat with a brim, or large floppy straw hat. 10) It's extremely draining physically to move around when it's this hot, so do as the Spanish do, and take a siesta during the hottest hours. From hot sun to cold water - the dangers One other important point to bear in mind is that if you've been lying in the sun, and your body is at a high temperature, and you jump or dive into cold water, the shock to your body of such a sudden and extreme change in temperature might cause you to feel faint or dizzy. Obviously this would be extremely dangerous while in water, especially the sea. There were three cases of drowning last week in Andalucia, two people in their 70s and one in his 50s, and at this stage it seems likely that the causes of death were cardiac arrest. Advice is to splash your body with water to reduce its remperature before going into the water.
Blog published on 15 August 2015