Heatwave: 12 Ways to Stay Cool in Summer

Published: 20-12-2019

Heatwave: 12 Ways to Stay Cool in Summer

As the Australian summer comes into full force, we’re witnessing heatwaves of up to 40 degrees Celsius in some cities. While sunlight is essential to your health and wellbeing, excessive heat and sun exposure is not! Stay cool during the upcoming heatwave with these simple tips.

1. Stay hydrated

It goes without saying, don’t forget to drink water! In a heatwave, don’t wait until you’re thirsty, try to consistently sip on water all day.

If you have trouble remembering to drink water, try to keep a full reusable bottle with you at all times or download an app that reminds you to drink water.

2 Dress light

Opt for lighter clothing to avoid trapping hot air. Choose lighter clothing in both senses – go for items made from cotton, and clothes that are lighter coloured. Lighter colours tend to reflect heat and sunlight, whereas darker colours do the opposite and absorb.

3. Eliminate extra sources of heat

Turn off electronics and appliances that may be emitting heat, such as computers, incandescent light bulbs etc.

4. Don’t eat large, protein-rich meals

Eating large, protein-rich meals can increase your metabolic heat and warmth because they make your body work harder. During a heatwave, choose lighter meals that are rich in ‘cooler’ foods, such as cucumbers, berries, lemon and coconut water.

Foods that can increase your metabolic heat include white potatoes, tomatoes, chilli, capsicum, eggplant, turmeric, meat, ginger, cinnamon, and cacao.

5. Breathe deep

Try inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose. In theory, your saliva should help cool the air before it’s taken to your lungs.

6. Cool down your ‘hot points’

Apply a small ice pack or bottle filled with iced water to your pressure points. This will include your ankles, behind your knees, your wrists, elbow bends, neck and temples.

7. Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and coffee

Sugar decreases your body’s ability to store water, and alcohol and caffeine are natural diuretics. This means you’ll urinate more than usual and lose more water in the process. Try sticking to water throughout the day.

If you need something more exciting – try sparkling water, adding fruits to your water (we love citrus!) or making a cold herbal tea with peppermint, spearmint or chamomile.

8. Head downstairs

Hot air tends to rise so you might find that the lower you are, the cooler and easier the air is to breathe.

9. Avoid going outside between 10am – 3pm

A simple way to try stay cooler is to avoid going out during these hours. The sun tends to have the highest UV index, and is at peak heat, between these hours.

If you have to go out, make sure you’re wearing a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

10. Recognise signs of heat-related illness

Sometimes the heat can be overwhelming and the body will become unable to regulate its core temperature. Every year, hot weather and heat waves cause illnesses, hospitalisations and sometimes death.

Keep watch for different types of heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Always contact a doctor or seek emergency medical attention if the symptoms of these conditions are severe or worsen with time.

Heat stroke is a true medical emergency. If a person has the symptoms of heat stroke, you should notify emergency services (000) immediately.

With extra tips from an expert naturopath at NIIM, Jess Milroy says to:

11. Make your own spritz bottle

To help take the heat out of your skin, make a spritz bottle with some water, lavender oil, peppermint oil and aloe vera. Spray this mix when you can feel your skin heating up.

12. Apply peppermint for heat related headaches

Applying peppermint oil at the nape of your neck and under your feet can help drain the heat from your head. This is especially helpful if you experience heat related headaches.


Don’t forget to look out for others, cool down your pets and ensure you check on those who are at risk during a heatwave, such as the elderly and young children.

Be on the lookout for alerts related to heat health, extreme heat or about transport disruptions.

Your local doctor, hospital or health professional is a source of advice if in doubt.

All life-threatening situations should be reported by calling triple-0.