16 Mar 10 Tips to Cool Down in a Kimberly Heatwave
It doesn’t just get hot in the Kimberleys when a heatwave hits; it gets sweltering. The harsh Australian sun beats down hard during the summer months, and while most places have air conditioning, you won’t always be able to count on it while out and about.
There are plenty of ways to keep your cool while traversing the region – some of them are obvious (like keeping to the shade), but a few homegrown Aussie tips and tricks for coping won’t go amiss. You’ll be thanking us later!
1. Slip Slop Slap
The first piece of advice is a no-brainer, and any Australian child can repeat you the slogan: slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat!
Australia has some of the highest concentration of UV rays in the world, that means that our sunlight isn’t only warm, but harsher than most other places. For this reason, even if you can stand the sunlight, you should endeavour to put a little extra protection on.
If you’re visiting from overseas, and know that a 30 degree day won’t usually sunburn you, there are two things to consider: Firstly, the added UV will make you burn a lot easier than the temperature might imply, and secondly the extra UV rays caught unprotected can be a skin cancer risk.
Unless you want to spend the back half of your adventure looking like a tomato, just repeat the slogan: slip, slop, slap.
2. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine
Or if you have to consume them, either try a low-caffeine substitute or drink after the sun goes down.
Both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, and act as diuretics (meaning that they help the body expel liquids). In fact, drinking too much coffee with no other liquids can lead to dehydration.
A hangover is your body crying out for the liquids and nutrients you lost while asleep. Either drink less, or at minimum keep some water by your bed, and drink some before sleeping. When you wake up, make sure you drink another couple of glasses; it’ll help you get through the day and stop you from feeling dizzy or faint in the sun.
3. Put some spice into you
If you’re a fan of chilli, you’re in luck. Eating spicy foods promotes circulation, blood flow, and in turn helps your body employ its own cooling factors at an increased rate.
Don’t chow down too hard, though. Eating too much food at once ends up making the body feel worse during heat. Instead, follow our next tip…
4. Eat a little, a lot
During the heat, you should prioritise having light meals, and have them more frequently than you otherwise would.
This is essentially because a large meal clogs up your metabolism, making your body use more energy, heat, and effort digesting it. If you’re instead snacking on smaller pieces of food, it’ll go down easier.
As a bonus, a lot of low-weight, healthy snacking food, such as vegetables and fruit, contain a lot of water, which you’ll need to sustain yourself too.
5. Lights and electronics
If you’re on one of our cruises, you’ll find your cabins more than equipped to deal with the heat. However, using a lot of electronic equipment can warm up the space around you, and in an enclosed room can actually increase the temperature significantly.
Try touching a laptop charger or battery that’s been left on for a couple of hours, and you’ll notice the radiating heat coming off of it. It’s not enough to burn, but it’s just as warm as a car radiator.
Use electronics only in well-ventilated areas, or places with a breeze.
The exception to this is, of course, electric fans, which are designed to produce as little electrical heat with the most air current.
6. Don’t crack up
If you’re not a warm weather veteran, you might find your skin dries easily and begins to crack under a particularly strong sun.
In order to combat this, moisturise yourself, particularly your hands and lips, with moisturiser at regular intervals.
Aloe Vera works in tandem with this, providing a cooling moisturising solution that also works to salve sunburn.
7. Cotton on
As a general rule, summer clothes are made out of natural fibres, particularly cotton.
If you have two identical shirts, and one is cotton while the other is a cotton blend or nylon, the pure cotton is going to breathe easier and trap less sunlight. Synthetic clothing, as a rule, is designed for colder climates, and therefore isn’t the best choice to take with you as it’ll cause a lot of excess sweating that can easily be avoided
Check the makeup of your clothing. Synthetic fibres will certainly be less comfy after a long day of activities.
8. Head below
Go down to the lowest floor, or basement if you have one. Heat, not just the heat from outside but the heat produced inside from electrical appliances and body heat, rises to upper floors.
9. Keep a scarf
It might seem counterproductive to wear more in the heat, but most desert gear includes a lightweight shawl that can drape around the shoulders, head, and neck. A shawl is often a better idea than a simple hat since it covers more surface area, and has more flexibility.
Many hats, for example, will leave the ears exposed, or the back of the neck. Some of this can also be tricky to cover with sunscreen, as hair gets in the way and you can’t see the areas yourself. Counter this with a posable, draped shawl.
10. Drink, even if you don’t feel like it
Finally, remember to drink even when you’re not thirsty. Experts recommend that you drink at least 2.5 to 3L of water a day, and even more during heatwaves. Elderly people are at most risk with not drinking, as they can lose up to 2L a day naturally.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, it’s important to get the bare minimum amount of liquid into you so that you can keep energised. Without it, you’ll feel not only thirsty later, but lethargic and slow, which will drain your capacity for drinking even further.
Enjoy your trip
With these 10 tips on hand, you’ll be able to keep yourself cooler during a Kimberley heatwave, and instead focus on taking in the beautiful surroundings!