There are a lot of things we can control when deciding to travel somewhere; where we stay, the tours we embark on, who accompanies us, etc. However, one thing we definitely have no control over is the weather.
You've most likely seen the news about the unprecedented heat wave engulfing many parts of the world recently. What can you do when you're traveling and the weather takes a turn with rising temperatures? We've compiled a list of helpful tips to keep in mind if you're finding yourself struggling to keep cool while you're abroad.
Keep Out Of The Sun In Peak Hours
As tempting as it may be to use up every possible moment when you're in a new and exciting place, consider scheduling that walking tour earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening, and taking the hottest times of the day to rest up and look at all those beautiful photographs you've been taking.
Cool Off Your Pulse Points
If you find yourself beginning to feel the early signs of heat exhaustion, apply ice or a cold compress to pulse points on the body as soon as you can. Some of the best areas for rapid temperature lowering are the back of the neck, the inside of the wrists and elbows, the top of the head, and behind the knees.
Yep, consuming hot and spicy food actually cools you off! But how? Dr. Barry Green explains in Scientific American that “the answer hinges on the fact that spicy foods excite the receptors in the skin that normally respond to heat. The pain system that is triggered by capsaicin (the active component of chili peppers) is everywhere on the body, so one can get thermal effects everywhere.” So, we get sweaty when we eat spicy things, and in turn that cools off our bodies. Think about it; most of the spicy cuisines we know and love — Indian food, Mexican food, Caribbean food, South Asian food — come from some of the warmest climates in the world. The saying “trust the experts” definitely applies here.
This one might seem a tad obvious, but can easily be forgotten when we're preoccupied with exploring new places and having fun. This is especially important to keep in mind while consuming alcohol and coffee, as they both (unfortunately) dehydrate you. But water isn't the only thing you need to keep up to avoid withering away in the heat - electrolytes (vitamins and minerals) are a great tool to keep your hydration in check. Pack some sweet & salty granola bars, potato chips, gatorade and coconut water in your backpack before heading out on that long hike, you'll be thankful you thought ahead!
What You Wear Matters
Lightweight, loose fitting clothing made of breathable fabric (like cotton and linen) allows airflow and air movement to aid in cooling the body. Skip the black clothing and opt for light-coloured clothes. They reflect the heat better than dark-coloured clothes (which absorb heat).
Deciding whether or not to get travel insurance is always tough (though we always like to err on the side of caution!) but the reality is, heat stroke can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you or your loved one ends up needing medical care due to overheating while away, having insurance could end up saving you a significant amount of money. Lewis Smith, manager of the Canada Safety Council, explains it well… “Before heat stroke sets in, someone who has been overexposed to the heat may show signs of heat exhaustion. This typically happens due to excessive sweating which leads to a loss of water, causing dehydration. It can present itself through a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Extreme thirst
- High body temperature
Left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, an illness that arises when the body's core reaches a temperature higher than 40 °C. It can present itself with a variety of symptoms including disorientation and lack of sweat and can lead to unconsciousness, organ failure and death if immediate action is not taken.”
It's important to stay vigilant with self care while you're away from home, and heat safety is not an exception! Remember to take care, and stay cool. Happy travels!