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How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

How to keep cool during France's heatwave

The Local · 24 Aug 2016, 16:48

Published: 24 Aug 2016 16:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Aug 2016 16:48 GMT+02:00

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French authorities take heatwaves extremely seriously, and it's little wonder. Back in August 2003, a heatwave killed 15,000 mostly elderly people across the country.
With this in mind, here are some crucial tips to staying cool during this week's heatwave.
Drink water
It might sound obvious, but be sure to drink plenty of water - even when you're not thirsty. It's recommended that you drink at least somewhere between 1.5 and 2 litres per day. 
Stay inside
Try and avoid going outside between the hours of 11am and 9pm. If you have to, then be sure to wear light clothes, preferably cotton as it lets your skin breathe. It's not a bad idea to take a parasol, like the woman below. 

(Photo: AFP)
Shut the blinds
On the home front, keep the blinds closed throughout the hottest hours of the day. When the temperature outside drops below that of your home, open the windows and doors and let the place aerate. 
Douse yourself in water
There are plenty of ways to keep hydrated besides just drinking water and taking showers and baths. Filling a bucket with water for your feet or placing a wet or damp towel on your head and shoulders can make a big difference. Even a little spray with water can keep you feeling fresh. 
(Photo: emanuela franchini/Flickr)
Get rid of the extra heat
If you're at home, turn off the big lights, only use your laptop if you have to, and eat fresh food rather than using the oven. 
Don't play sports
Skip your typical afternoon run and say no to your handball teammates - it's best not to over-exert yourself at all. Even going outside to do the gardening is unadvised.
Be aware of the risks
You might be in peak physical form, but not everyone else is. Remember that children under the age of four and the elderly are the most at risk when the heat strikes. 
France set to bake under 'intense' heatwave
(Parisians in the water. Photo: AFP)
Stay in the coolest parts of the house
Be sure to find the coolest part of the house and make sure that's the area you stay. If your place has no air conditioning nor an electric fan, then you're advised to head somewhere that is like a cinema or a shopping centre.
Story continues below…
Recognize symptoms of heat-related illnesses
If you or someone close to you is complaining of cramps, headaches, dizziness, or has a fever of over 38C, this is a clear sign they're suffering from the heat. Keep the person cool and call emergency services for help.  
Be careful what you drink
Tea, coffee, and alcohol all act as diuretics, meaning it will leave you dehydrated. Stick to water. And on the plus side, this means you won't have to turn the kettle on either!
Don't forget your furry friends
Your pets also suffer from intense heat, so make sure you think of them too. Be sure to keep an eye on them, give them plenty of water, and the occasional cool bath. 

An original version of this article was published in June 2015.
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