Obviously one of the reasons we all visit Turkey is because we are virtually guaranteed long hot summer days and balmy evenings. We go on holiday to relax, have fun and to get that all important sun tan however, you do need to be careful how much time you spend in the sun and Turkey is known for having heat waves and this can be a dangerous time for everyone, holiday makers and locals.
This is when you need to take steps to keep cool and to make sure your family especially the little ones are kept safe and sunburn free. As a foreigner who has lived in Turkey for over 9 years the best way to avoid the sun at its most powerful is to watch what the locals do. They have grown up in this hot country and know the best times to hit the beach and the best times to stay indoors.
When is the hottest time of day?
Usually the locals will hit the beach before 9am and they leave around 11.30am, they return around 5pm and will stay into the early evening. If you can get on the beach after breakfast and leave before 12 noon this is ideal. Even if you are staying in a hotel or on a complex around the pool it’s advisable to follow these times anyway. During July and August the temperatures often reach 35°C and if there is a heat wave they can easily exceed 40°C. I remember around 12 years ago one summer it reached a blistering 50°C and we had to stay in doors for safety.
How do I keep cool?
Quite simply take a cold shower or bath; showers are easier you just get yourself under them whenever you need to cool down. You can also put your wrists under the cold water tap and splash cold water over your face and neck, it cools your body temperature down and it’s refreshing. It is possible during a heat wave that water shortages could be a problem if this is the case and you have a pool then take a quick dip and get back in the shade.
What should I drink?
Water and plenty of it, you must keep hydrated and it’s very important the younger members of the family drink lots too. If you become dehydrated you will feel ill, lethargic, headaches plus dizziness and you will hardly go to the toilet. Warm drinks are also recommended such as tea because it triggers you to sweat enabling your body to cool down. Eating spicy foods will give the same reaction, have you ever wondered why these hot countries have spicy foods? Now you know!
What should I wear?
Loose fitting clothes are advisable in light shades such as white or pastel colours. Light colours reflect the heat. Whenever you are in the sun always wear a hat to protect your head. Baseball cap styles are ideal and children’s caps often have a long flap of material at the back which covers their neck for further protection. Sunglasses are also great to protect you from the glare of the sun if possible look for sunglasses that protect you from 99 – 100% of both UVA and UVB light.
What factor sun creme should I buy?
Most definitely for children buy factor 50+ in all honestly I buy this factor too as not only do I not want to get sun burnt, having too much sun really ages your skin especially on your face. Everyone’s skin will start to burn after 10 minutes of full sun without any sun creme, if you have factor 50 SPF sun creme on it provides 50 times the protection than wearing no sun creme. It’s important to remember you need to apply sun creme 30 minutes before going into the sun and you must reapply the same amount every 2 hours. Lip balm is also a good idea as the skin on your lips is delicate and you can now buy scalp protection spray which is non greasy to stop your head from burning and it does work – but still wear a hat for added protection.
How do I keep the house cool?
Open your windows and keep all internal doors open to create a breeze. Hopefully all windows and doors will have mosquito nets on them. During the hottest part of the day keep all blinds and curtains closed, keep your air con on and open the ceiling fans and verticle fans. Air con can be expensive if you are paying the electric bill and this is where all fans are cheap to use all day and night. Sometimes air con units dry out your throat and cause an irritable cough, if you are asthmatic it is wise not to use the air con too much. You can put it on for an hour before you go to bed to cool the room and then put the ceiling fan on to circulate the cold air.
During a heat wave the elderly and very young are more vulnerable so take care of everyone!