June 30th, 2012
Whew….¡Que calor! It´s hot and getting hotter…
This last month of June saw extremely high temperatures hit Spain – last week was more like mid July.
That might be music to your ears if you spend 50 weeks of the year in the drizzle under the grey skies of Northern Europe, and indeed the sunshine is just what you want for your hard earned fortnight away from work.
But unless you want to explore Spanish hospitals instead of the wonderful country and customs, then take heed and keep your cool.
Sensible sun worshiping means safe tanning and respect for the intense rays…let´s have a quick check-list before you fry…sorry…fly!
All set for a good time
Looking forward to some time resting and relaxing is part of the holiday, packing some new clothes and reading up on where you´re headed...check out the rest of this blog over at Spain Holiday for some tips on where to go and what to do in your chosen destination.
Dreaming of two weeks exploring and stretching out on some golden sand will soon be a gorgeous reality – but remember a few simple tips too – the difference in temperature can be overwhelming this far South – you know that feeling when you step off the ´plane and feel as though someone has just opened the oven door? ! Well, that´s right about now!
Having lived here for nearly seven years we are pretty well used to the heat of Summer in Spain. We have cold Winters too here in the mountains – and the sudden switch to heat always surprises me - like the flick of a switch…
The last month has been sweltering, and care must be taken when travelling – remembering a few small things will keep you safe.
Who´s at risk?
Everyone should take care,but especially if you are travelling with young children and babies, older folk or anyone with a pre existing medical condition.
The 2 big risks are sunburn and heatstroke, both can be serious, even fatal. Both can also be easily avoided. So, take note of some top tanning tips…
Rubbing it in
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) lotions and creams are not there to prevent you from going home with that coveted tan. They are there to allow you to sunbathe longer, more safely. Use total sunblock on babies - they can´t choose for themselves future skin conditions in later life - and block or high factors on children.
The first couple of days are crucial – everyone should use high factors – and gradually use lower as you and your skin gets used to the intense rays - but never go below 15. Re-apply lotion regularly especially after swimming or playing in the water. Remeber it for the many fantastic water-parks in Spain – and keep lashing it on.
Got a head?
Hats. One word. Simple….wear a hat! The sun is most intense on your head so keep your hat on. Clothes wise – pack cottons, linens and breathable fabrics – lighter to pack and so much more comfortable - unless you´re cycling, leave the Lycra at home! Long sleeved light clothing whilst dining out later at night will prevent Mozzies from making a meal of you!
Mad dogs and Englishmen…
…you know the rest. Stay inside your comfortable home from home holiday rental between the hours of 12:00 and 3:00pm. If you must go out then just look at a Spanish beach and watch the locals all depart and not return until the cooler afternoon – so simply follow suit. Midday is for long lunches in air conditioned restaurants, and lazy siestas. Besides, all the shops shut until later on – so do as the Spanish do! Laze the afternoon away, enjoy the afternoon, eat later with the locals. It´s a hard life!
Hiring a car?
Wonderful, explore the area around where you have chosen to base yourself for that wonderful holiday, but….make sure the air conditioning is working, and NEVERleave the kids alone in a hot car for even a second….a scary fact: cars can heat up by 20º in 10 minutes…enough said.
Water, water everywhere…
…and lots and lots to drink. Spain is literally covered with thousands of drinking fountains, look for the agua potable sign, so make use of them and drink up! Carry bottled water, refill from the fountains, keep water in the car and take it to the beach. By all means enjoy the wonderful cerveza but keep it for the cool evenings…alcohol and strong daytime sunshine don´t make the greatest cocktail…Sure, order that glass of wine to go with your fish lunch – but also order a glass of waterto go with it too!
Remember to pack your umbrella
Only joking! But if your holiday accommodation doesn´t have a sun shade to take to the beach then splash out and buy one. It won´t break the bank but may save your skin. They´re about €8 or less in beach side stores and supermarkets and really are required beachwear! After all, it´s all in the name Parasol – for the sun!
If something does goes wrong
If you suspect someone has heatstroke then seek medical advice immediately. Heatstroke is when your body temperature is elevated too quickly usually accompanied by dehydration. Nausea, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, disorientation, agitation are all the symptoms to look out for. Call assistance without hesitation and keep the person cool and hydrated if possible.
The term for sunstroke in Spanish is La Insolación. 112 is the national emergency number, no code needed.
Take the simple prevention steps and nothing should go wrong. It´s worth remembering that sunshine gives us essential vitamin D, can help in prevention of some cancers and is as essential as it is fierce. Hey, it makes you feel great too! Get a great, safe, tan, enjoy the Spanish sun, and the last most important point to remember – enjoy your holiday!