In the peak of summer, temperatures in Dubai can often reach the high 40s. At these extremes, it can feel uncomfortable and heat-related illnesses such as sunstroke are relatively common.
Those moving to Dubai often have concerns about the intense heat. However, by following some key guidelines, it is possible to retain some normality and stay comfortable.
Here are some tips for coping with the heat and high humidity:
Clothing and Bedding – First of all, consider the clothes that you wear. It’s essential to dress in cool fabrics such as cotton rather than synthetic materials, which can trap the heat. Also consider the colour of your clothing; white or light colours reflect the heat far better than dark colours. Finally, opt for loose rather than tight fitting clothing, as it allows air to circulate. Just like your clothing, your bedding should be lightweight cotton as it is fully breathable, aiding airflow in the bedroom.
Stay Hydrated – The human body can only cope with humidity if you stay hydrated. So ensure you drink plenty of liquid. Water, coconut water and sports drinks are all popular options in the heat, however, water is by far the cheapest and most feely available. When it comes to quantity, 2 litres a day is a good guideline – although this may sound like a lot, your body will need it. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated so try to pre-empt this, where possible.
Stay Indoors During the Midday heat – Where possible, try to avoid going out in the midday sun. Between 11am and 3pm the sun is at it’s most powerful and it’s incredibly easy to get sunstroke or badly sunburnt. When you do go out, make sure you are wearing sunscreen with both a high SPF and high UVA protection (e.g. a high number of stars). Sunscreens offering both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called ‘broad spectrum’
Exercise in the mornings and evenings – Try to restrict exercise to mornings and evenings when the strength of the sun and air temperature is lower. It will take less out of you and you will recover more quickly.
Use a fan or a ‘misting spray’ – Some Dubai residents use small battery powered pocket fans to keep cool, even in air-conditioned buildings. A popular alternative is a ‘mister’, a small contraption attached to a bottle of water, which sprays a fine, cooling mist.
Take cold showers – Make sure you take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water. A cold shower will quickly bring down your core body temperature.
Food and Drink – Swap big meals for smaller, lighter alternatives that are easy to metabolise. The body produces more heat when you eat large portions of hot food, than when you opt for a lighter cold meal, such as a salad. Caffeine should be avoided as it quickly dehydrates the body, as does alcohol, although this is prohibited in Dubai.
Look out for others – Make sure you look out for others in extreme heat and humidity, particularly the elderly and small children. If you notice any signs of severe heat-related illness such as fever or nausea, contact a medical professional straight away. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related conditions too.