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'Inferno' Heat & Tips For Summer Travels

The summer of 1976 in The UK is etched in the memory of many as being the hottest known summer with temperatures reaching 35.9 °C (96.6 °F) in Cheltenham. An anomaly, seeing most Brits, similar to migrating birds, heading south to the Mediterranean for their summer holidays and fix of guaranteed sun. However, as the world heats up, temperatures bringing more and more extreme climates, July and August in southern Europe have seen a rise in record highs. This month in Siracusa, a popular tourist destination for many visitors from cooler climates, saw the arrival of 'The Inferno' as it was labelled - 'hell' in Italian.

Meteorologists measuring 48.8 °C (119.84 °F) on the Sicilian island this summer 2021, 'The Inferno' a visitor from the African northern coast. Siracusa is no stranger to weather not typically European, being an island closer to Africa than Rome, warm scirocco winds and desert sands from the Sahara cover the island throughout the year.

Sicily ~ closer to Africa than Rome, warm scirocco winds and desert sands from the Sahara
Sicily ~ closer to Africa than Rome, warm scirocco winds and desert sands from the Sahara

The peak travel months for most northern European or North American visitors are July and August, the same two months where most locals are working less or closing up businesses and heading to their beach homes to escape the heat. The tourist left deserted in Siracusa and Ortigia apart from those serving the tourist industry.

The sun brings joy but also dangers, not only with the obvious sunburn and skin melanoma risks but also from the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Knowing when and how to be in the sun are vital for an enjoyable holiday and health ultimately.

Here are some TOP TIPS for surviving the summer sun, Mediterranean style.

  1. Try to stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day: noon to 3pm. Rise early and enjoy the cooler climate for tours, markets or pottering outdoors. Or enjoy the day from later afternoon onwards into the evening. Most shops, cafes and restaurants are open after 4pm until around 8 or 9pm, with restaurants open until midnight. Tours can also be booked during these hours. Lots on the trip advisor website.

  2. Do apply sunblock at least 30 minutes before going out for full protection and if possible wear make up with sun protection already as an added ingredient.

  3. Keep hydrated with water and warm drinks like tea. You will lose 2 and 2½ litres of fluid a day through sweating, breathing, urine and faeces. Stay off the ice drinks and go for room temperature water. It will be assimilated into your body much faster and you will feel rehydrated quicker.

  4. Wear a hat and choose the best one to protect against UV and cover eyes, face and neck avoiding premature ageing. Darker rimmed ones are best but knowing if you will be in a glare environment or not is also a question you must ask when selecting the right hat. READ MORE HERE There is a wonderful hat shop/boutique on Via Roma in Ortigia run by Emilia where you will not only find a suitable hat but stylish too. Check out her shop 'Tanto Di Cappello' or contact her via her website here

  5. Stay in the shade where possible

  6. Eat well but remember ice cold foods will require your body to produce more heat to digest it so may be a short term fix but try to go for fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water like melon and fruits or green leaves as part of your meals. Sweet, bitter, astringent foods are the foods to go for to cool you down. Sweet, ripe fruits like avocados, cherries, plums, grapes, pineapples, peaches and mangoes are perfect. Try to eat your main meal in the middle of the day, as people to from warmer climates, when your digestive fire is strongest

  7. Sleeping in hot weather can be difficult so keep bottled water at your bedside to stay hydrated if you need to urinate. Make sure your air conditioning is set to a reasonable temperature or get a fan instead.

  8. Avoid running and doing heavy workouts especially at lunchtime. Light exercise is best such as walking, stretching yoga, tai chi, or a gentle cycle if you must.

  9. Make time to keep the mind from overheating with worries, over thinking with planning and organising thing and make time for some 'me time' with meditation even for 10 minutes whilst taking a rest.

  10. Know the difference between HEAT EXHAUSTION and HEAT STROKE.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms: feeling faint or dizzy, sweating. cool and clammy skin, nauseous or even vomiting, a fast or weak pulse and muscle cramps.
Heat Stroke Symptoms: A throbbing headache, no sweating but a very high body temperature above 103, red, hot and dry skin, nauseous or even vomiting, a strong and rapid pulse and even loss of consciousness.

Call telephone number:

112 for the emergency services if you are unsure.

Sunbathing with no shade at peak times of the day will harm you
Sunbathing with no shade at peak times of the day will harm you

So all in all, if you find yourself holidaying in Sicily in July or August then please do make sure you are fully prepared. If the temperature doesn't slow you down then perhaps the stifling humidity will. Either way we hope you find your balance, as with every thing in life, and simply make the most of what you have. Or simply visit in May, June, September or October.


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