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Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave

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Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave
A couple leaping into an open-air pool in Freiburg. Photo: DPA
10:03 CEST+02:00
Here's how to keep cool as the mercury soars during this week's heatwave in Germany. And don't forget your pets!

With the German weather service (DWD) advising of temperatures at “record levels” in southern and western Germany this week, it's time everyone reacquainted themselves with some basic heat precautions.

Top temperatures on Wednesday. Image: Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)

In the North and East, temperatures won't top 30C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) before Thursday, but in the southwest and along the Rhine they're already there – and likely to hit 39C (102F) between Friday and Sunday.

Top temperatures on Thursday. Image: Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)

Regardless of what they come up with, it's best to stay ahead of the game this week. Here are some crucial tips to staying cool this week.

Drink water

ALL the water. Photo: DPA

It might sound obvious, but be sure to drink plenty of water - even when you're not thirsty. It's recommended that you drink at least somewhere between 1.5 and 2 litres per day.

Stay inside or cover up

But don't ruin the view for everyone else if you can avoid it. Photo: DPA

Try and avoid going outside between the hours of 11am and 9pm. If you have to, then be sure to wear light clothes, preferably cotton as it lets your skin breathe. It's not a bad idea to take a parasol, like these forward-thinking boat tourists.

Shut the blinds

BEGONE, ANGRY SUN! Photo: DPA

On the home front, keep the blinds closed throughout the hottest hours of the day. When the temperature outside drops below that of your home, open the windows and doors and let the place aerate.

Douse yourself in water

Jump straight in a fountain if you can find one. Photo: DPA

There are plenty of ways to keep hydrated besides just drinking water and taking showers and baths. Filling a bucket with water for your feet or placing a wet or damp towel on your head and shoulders can make a big difference. Even a little spray with water can keep you feeling fresh.

Get rid of the extra heat

Salad is good for you and doesn't use the oven. Photo: DPA

If you're at home, turn off the big lights, only use your laptop if you have to, and eat fresh food rather than using the oven.

Don't play sports

Or you might end up like Ranocchi here. Photo: DPA

Skip your typical afternoon run and say no to your handball teammates - it's best not to over-exert yourself at all. Even going outside to do the gardening is unadvised.

Be aware of the risks

You might be in peak physical form, but not everyone else is. Remember that children under the age of four and the elderly are the most at risk when the heat strikes. 

Stay in the coolest parts of the house

Hide in the basement with your pinball machines. Photo: DPA

Be sure to find the coolest part of the house and make sure that's the area you stay. If your place has no air conditioning nor an electric fan, then you're advised to head somewhere that does. Go and spend at least a few hours in a cinema, a shopping centre or a swimming pool.

Recognize symptoms of heat-related illnesses

Photo: DPA

If you or someone close to you is complaining of cramps, headaches, dizziness or has a fever of over 38C, this is a clear sign they're suffering from the heat. Keep the person cool and call emergency services for help.

Be careful what you drink

Don't sit in the sun drinking coffee. Photo: DPA

Tea, coffee and alcohol all act as diuretics, meaning it will leave you dehydrated. Stick to water. And on the plus side, this means you won't have to turn the kettle on either!

Don't forget your furry friends

Or your feathered friends, for that matter. Photo: DPA

Your pets also suffer from intense heat, so make sure you think of them, too. Be sure to keep an eye on them, give them plenty of water and the occasional cool bath.

Dogs love the shade. And also baths. Photo: DPA.

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