Student life

Keeping Your Cool - How to stay safe in the Australian Summer

by Sam Wednesday February 19th 2020

Keeping Your Cool - How to stay safe in the Australian Summer-keep-cool-advice-australian-summer

Spending time in Australia, whether you are on holiday or a new student or on a working holiday, may need some adjustment. Hot summer days and nights can bring many health hazards you may not be aware of.

And experiencing an Australian summer can mean dealing with extreme heat.

For your personal safety, it's crucial to take precautions, especially on hot days.

There are some essentials that you should be aware of.

Do not underestimate the Australian sun

Protect your skin, no matter what your skin type, for some people, that's even in Winter. Wear SPF 20 at a minimum, but SPF 50 is best.

To protect your skin from the intense sun, use sunscreen from early morning to evening. Far too many visitors to Australia under-estimate the dangers of the Australian sun and end up with sunburn and heatstroke.

Many people don't understand how sunblocks work.

Skin specialists recommend applying Blockout ever 2-3 hours, and the combination of the following to guide you on how long you can stay out in the sun.

How quickly your turn burn in the sun without protection

multiple the SPF of your product = length of time you can be in the sun

Example: If you have an SPF 15 x 20 minutes of sun time = 300 minutes

you can stay in the sun without burning.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which is directly linked to sun exposure and Australia has the highest incidents of Melanoma in the world.

It is a good idea to use +30 SPF, but +50 SPF will block 98% of UVB and UVA rays. It's also essential to use a good quality sunblock, it does make a difference, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

There are mineral sunblocks coming on the market which claim to have less chemicals and are just as effective.

For the girls, there are many good cosmetic foundations with +30 SPF & +50 SPF too.

Look for sunscreens with active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

So don't forget to Slip - Slop - Slap

Did you know water out of the tap is safe in Australia

Australian tap water is clean and safe to drink without boiling.

Don't buy bottled water. For one thing, its environmentally unsound, plastic polution, health risks using plastic, diminishing spring water levels, etc, etc

...but it is also expensive

Get a reusable water bottle, insulated ones are best as they will get your water cold for hours and also insulate for heat so handy for winter months if you like soups or tea!

Staying hydrated is really important, becoming dehydrated is easy and can cause:

  1. low concentration levels - fuzzy head

  2. impaired mood - irratability

  3. increased headaches

  4. muscle cramps

  5. constipation

You need to stay hydrated, particularly in summer. Drink plenty of water at all times. It's recommended drinking between 8-10 cups of water.

The Nutrient Reference Values on the Australian government website advises adult men should drink 2.6 litres of water per day (about 10 cups) and adult women should drink 2.1 litres per day (about eight cups).

These figures are based on average weights of men and women, so a good rule of thumb is 35 millilitres of fluid per kilogram of bodyweight.

If you are playing sports don't skip the water, active people particularly athletes, can become seriously injured if dehydrated when exercising or playing sport in the summer months.

Try to maintain healthy eating habits, so stay away from heavy, salty and fatty foods - all can make you dehydrated.

Sweating can also mean you are losing vitamins and minerals more quickly, another reason to stick to healthy eating habits.

Do may need supplements to ensure your intake of essential nutrients like magnesium, calcium and potassium are normal so you can avoid muscle cramps and constipation.

Don't drink too much alcohol - this will definitely leave you dehydrated. If you do drink, make sure you add another litre of water to your daily intake.

Drink a small glass of water before bedtime. It helps keep you hydrated during the night so you won't feel tired and sluggish in the morning.

Start your day early

In summer day in Australia, arranging your plans to adjust to the weather and hot temperatures is a good idea. Heat exhaustion and fatigue can creep up on you.

Start your day as early as possible, between 5.00-8.00 am is a good start, especially if you are exercising and or walking distances. At the beach or outdoor pool, you should be careful of heat stress.

During the day stay out of the sun and keep to shady areas if outdoors and well-ventilated places if indoors. If it's really hot, try to stay indoors with air-con. Most libraries are air-conditioned, have free wifi, or a shopping mall is also a good option too.

Keep your Cool!

Cool down from the sweating, pack a cooling towel, there are many excellent products on Amazon.

Cooling towels are unique in that they can cool you down to below 20°C; even when it's hot outside.

TIP - Get one that has a silicone case as it helps the towel stay cool longer, handy especially for any outdoor activities.

Cover up

Clothes can make a difference!

Wearing lightweight and light colour clothing will make a difference to your body temperature. Keep the sun off your skin with long-sleeve breathable tops and long pants.

Cover your legs, arms and shoulders. Make sure you wear a hat to protect your face, neck and decoupage.

'Functional Wear' clothing is +50SPF too and will help you protect your skin from the sun and help you stay dry.

Protect your eyes - Your eyes are as sensitive to the sun as fair skin

Some specialist stated you should wear polaroid sunglass whenever you are outside or travelling.

Wear good quality sunglasses, some even have side covers to help protect your eyes from sun and glare.

Be smart. As long as you are thoughtful about the Australian weather conditions and use common sense together with these basic rules, you should have no need to worry!

High-quality articles for International Students living in Sydney to prepare, connect and be supported whilst studying in Australia.