If you are contemplating a summer job overseas, you might be looking forward to a proper bit of sun for a change or you might be worried you will simply melt. While generalizations are never 100% accurate, it is fair to say that a lot of Irish people are not used to what constitutes summer in much of the world. That bright yellow orb that we enjoy now and again here at home is on full time duty in other places. While a day above 20 degrees here is almost a national emergency, many places you might go for summer work are going to get up to 30 and above on the regular. Can you take the heat? Sure, you’ll be grand… as long as you are prepared.
A failure to plan is a plan to fail, they say. But a good plan and the right supplies can help you actually enjoy temperatures well above what is familiar.
- Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Sip room temperature water throughout the day. Carry a bottle of water with you. And yes, room temperature water is better. The goal is hydration. The temperature of your drinking water won’t have much impact on your body temperature, and some believe that very cold water on a very hot day can sort of shock your system and confuse your body’s thermostat.
- Be obsessive about sunscreen. Slather on that factor 40. Bring it with you because you don’t want to be out shopping for it after you arrive. You want it right away. Just like your mammy says, don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck! If you are wearing sandals, remember to put sunscreen on exposed parts of your feet. Put it on in the morning and again at lunch time.
- Don’t depend exclusively on sunscreen. Hats and sunglasses are also important. If you are very fair-skinned or in a conservative country, you might find that long sleeves and long trousers in a very lightweight and light coloured fabric will be most comfortable in the sun. The covered skin will be evenly protected, and light colours reflect the heat, keeping you a bit cooler.
- When in Rome… there’s a reason some countries close down for a few hours at lunch time. As the song says, it’s too damn hot. Do like the locals. Get out of the sun and relax. Have a little sleep or read a book. Take note of any particular tricks locals have for surviving the heat.
- Adjusting to a new culture and a new climate is hard work. Your body will need extra sleep. Adjust your exercise habits so you aren’t pushing yourself in the hot part of the day. Try to exercise earlier in the morning before it gets hot, and considering cutting back. This is not the time to push yourself.
- Know the signs of heat related health crisis such as heat stroke. Watch out for yourself and your buddies. If someone becomes weak or confused in the heat, seek medical help.
- It feels great to jump into cool water on a sweltering hot day, but be safe. Know your limits, and don’t swim alone or if you’ve had a drink. If you are at a lake or river, make sure you are familiar with the depth and the current as well as any hazards before you dive in. Hazards include rocks and any creatures living in the water.
A summer away in a hot climate can be life changing and magical. And yes, with the right plan and attitude, you absolutely can take the heat – on and off the job!