UK weather: What happens to your body when it gets too hot?

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
UK weather hot weather woman with fan. (Getty Images)
UK weather is seeing temperatures hotter than Jamaica and Hawaii. (Getty Images)

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Most people in the UK welcome hot weather with open arms. Al fresco dining, lazy days in the park, beach fun – what’s not to love?

But the heat also brings with it some health risks, mainly because our bodies aren’t necessarily that great at coping with a swing in temperature.

“Although many of us look forward to warmer weather, it’s extremely important to prepare for it, as it can cause some serious health issues,” Dr Diana Gall from Doctor4U tells Yahoo Life UK.

So, before you step out into today's highs of 34C, here's what you should know about what happens to your body when the mercury rises.

Read more: How to stay safe in hot weather: Top tips to avoid heatstroke this summer

You get dehydrated

Overheated black guy drinking water from bottle in park, free space
Don't neglect that water bottle when enjoying the sunshine. (Getty Images)

“One of the most common illnesses associated with hot weather is dehydration, which happens when the body loses more fluids than it gets,” explains Dr Gall.

“This can be incredibly dangerous, especially considering that the body needs a certain amount of water to function properly, and without enough of it, you might experience a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and dark or strong-smelling urine."

Dr Gall says you might also notice that you aren’t urinating as often.

“Luckily, dehydration can be solved with increasing your fluids and making sure you drink enough to stay hydrated," she adds.

She suggests a good way of measuring how much water is enough, is to check the colour of your urine.

“If it’s clear or light in colour, you’re likely getting enough fluids."

Dehydration can also lead to dry skin, but upping your fluids and slapping on the moisturiser can help to avoid this too.

You sweat more

Woman sweating. (Getty Images)
Feeling a bit sticky? (Getty Images)

And by more, we mean buckets.

“When your body gets too hot, the blood flow temperature activates a certain area in the brain which causes you to sweat more, and your heart rate can increase,” explains Dr Gall. “This is the body's way of adapting to the heat."

It seems sweating and dehydration are intimately linked. "As you sweat, you're also losing fluids, so may become dehydrated far sooner than on a cooler day," she says. "This usually causes dry mouth and increased thirst, so if you notice any of the above symptoms, make sure you keep yourself cool and hydrated.”

Read more: Hot weather fitness mistakes we're all making

You overheat

Woman hot in weather. (Getty Images)
Deal with symptoms of heat exhaustion to prevent heatstroke. (Getty Images)

Signs you are overheating include tingling skin, headaches, dizziness, nausea and an increased heart rate – all of which can indicate you’re on the way to suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“Heatstroke happens when your body isn’t able to keep itself cool – something that can happen when you overheat,” says Dr Gall.

“It’s important to treat this condition immediately for the best chance of a quick recovery, and signs to look out for include muscle cramps, sweating (or a complete lack of sweating despite the heat), skin that’s cool to touch, headache, nausea and vomiting, and a fast heartbeat.

Read more: Why you shouldn't sleep naked during a heatwave

“In these cases, it’s important to cool the body down even if the skin feels cold. This can be done with a cool bath or shower, as well as rehydrating with plenty of water taken in sips.”

Mental abilities and concentration can also decrease in the heat as the body and brain become dehydrated and exhausted.

You might get sunburnt

Male hand with a severe sunburn closeup. Sun protection concept
Sunburn and dehydration are linked. (Getty Images)

Pink skin is the external sign your body has had too much sun.

“Many people seek a summer glow by lying in the sun for hours to achieve a bronzed look, but it’s important to know that this is also skin damage, and can not only be painful now, but it could cause more problems later in life,” highlights Dr Gall.

Sunburn often goes hand in hand along with dehydration, but is easily preventable.

“To avoid burning your skin whilst enjoying the sun, you should choose a broad-spectrum sun-cream and apply it often,” advises Dr Gall.

Avoid the risks

“To avoid becoming ill due to the heat this summer, you can help yourself by staying indoors during the hottest hours (usually between 11am-3pm), wearing loose-fitting clothing to help air to circulate, drinking plenty of water, and making sure you use a broad-spectrum sun cream with a mid to high SPF rating,” says Dr Gall.

5 buys to help you cool down

Buy it: Honeywell HT900E Turbo Fan | £23.15 (was £32.49) from Amazon

Buy it: LIVIVO Cooling Gel Pillow | £5.95 (was £7.95) from Amazon

Buy it: John Lewis & Partners Handheld and Foldable Desk Fan | £12 from John Lewis & Partners

Buy it: Portable Air Cooler | £29.99 (Was £37.99) from Amazon

Buy it: Portable Mini Air Cooler | £21.99 (was £29.99) from Amazon

Watch: Top tips for protecting your skin in the sun

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