If you happen to be in any of our major cities right now and you’re new to Australia, you’re about to witness your first Aussie heatwave (except for Perth… you guys are so chilled out it’s just annoying). Now, if you happen to be from a country where hot weather is normal, then you’ll probably be fine in terms of the temperature – but there’s something a little more sinister about an Australian summer, and it even creeps up on the locals. Here are a few ways to beat the heat over the next few days, and to get you through what is clearly going to be a scorcher of a summer.
Don’t underestimate the ozone layer
The ozone layer over Australia is thinned, which means more UV radiation reaching us. We already have an outdoors-y lifestyle, so the thin barrier between us and the sun doesn’t do a whole lot to protect us from it. You might be from a colder climate, or maybe you’re from a tropical climate – whatever you’re used to, you can’t feel the sunburn when it’s happening, but it happens quickly, so be careful.
Yes. I know. Juices taste good and they look great on your insty under the Clarendon filter, but you can’t forget to hydrate. Australian heat waves will do one of two things: send you to the beach, or confine you to an air-conditioned building. Both of which will dehydrate you. Air-con causes low water content in the atmosphere, leading to increased water loss from the lungs and through the skin. An easy way to tell if you’re dehydrated is if you feel yourself starting to get thirsty – by this stage the effects of dehydration have already set in, hence the need to drink water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel very thirsty.
Invest in sunscreen
There are a lot of beach essentials to purchase this summer, but make the first purchase a decent bottle of sunscreen. I kid you not, a low-quality bottle of sunscreen will do just about nothing to protect you, and it will come straight off in the water. Choice tested 6 SPF 50+ sunscreens to see which ones were the real deal. The two that came out on top were Cancer Council Classic 50+ and Nivea Sun Kids SPF50+. These bottles retail at around $14.95, so there’s no excuse not to slap some on when you’re at the beach.
Know the signs
It’s very easy to become dehydrated and not notice. In fact, 80% of Australians suffer from the symptoms of dehydration without recognising them. It’s super important to know the signs as they happen so you can avoid heat stroke. If you’re spending a lot of time at the beach, or just working out in the sun this summer, be on the look out for:
- Increased thirst
- Weakness or dizziness
- Palpitations (heart pounding or jumping)
- Confusion or fainting
- Dry mouth or swollen tongue
There are a lot of things that people will tell you about the amount of water you should drink, or different ways to avoid sun burn or heat stroke, but if you’re following these simple steps you’ll be fine. Just pay attention to yourself when you’re out and about this summer. If there is a heatwave, like the one happening right now, just be smart and stay sun safe – that’s all there is to it.