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UK weather: What happens to your body when you get too hot?

UK weather hot weather woman with fan. (Getty Images)
The UK is currently experiencing a period of hot weather. (Getty Images)

After a disappointing summer, the return of this week's hot weather and it's promise of record-breaking temperatures has been welcomed by many.

But while we're looking forward to soaking up the last of the summer sun, the heat also brings with it some health risks, mainly because our bodies aren’t necessarily all that good at coping with a swing in temperature.

"Although many of us look forward to warmer weather, it’s extremely important to prepare for it, as it can cause some serious health issues," Dr Diana Gall from Doctor4U previously told Yahoo Life.

So, before you step out into this week's higher temperatures and beyond, here's what you should know about what happens to your body when the mercury rises.

UK heatwave: Read more

1. You can get dehydrated

Overheated black guy drinking water from bottle in park, free space
Don't neglect that water bottle when enjoying the sunshine. (Getty Images)

One of the most common illnesses associated with hot weather is dehydration, which happens when the body loses more fluids than it gets.

"This can be incredibly dangerous," Dr Gall explains. "Especially considering that the body needs a certain amount of water to function properly, and without enough of it, you might experience a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue and dark or strong-smelling urine."

You might also notice that you aren’t urinating as often.

"Luckily, dehydration can be solved with increasing your fluids and making sure you drink enough to stay hydrated," Dr Gall continues.

She suggests a good way of measuring how much water is enough, is to check the colour of your urine.

"If it’s clear or light in colour, you’re probably getting enough fluids."

Dehydration can also lead to dry skin, but upping your fluids and slapping on the moisturiser can help to avoid this too.

2. You sweat more

Woman sweating. (Getty Images)
Feeling a bit sticky? (Getty Images)

And by more, we mean buckets.

"When your body gets too hot, the blood flow temperature activates a certain area in the brain which causes you to sweat more, and your heart rate can increase," explains Dr Gall. "This is the body's way of adapting to the heat."

It seems sweating and dehydration are intimately linked. "As you sweat, you're also losing fluids, so may become dehydrated far sooner than on a cooler day," she says.

"This usually causes dry mouth and increased thirst, so if you notice any of the above symptoms, make sure you keep yourself cool and hydrated."

3. You could overheat

Woman hot in weather. (Getty Images)
Deal with symptoms of heat exhaustion to prevent heatstroke. (Getty Images)

Signs you are overheating include:

  • tingling skin

  • headaches

  • dizziness

  • increased heart rate

All of the signs above can indicate you’re on the way to suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

"Heatstroke happens when your body isn’t able to keep itself cool – something that can happen when you overheat," says Dr Gall.

"It’s important to treat this condition immediately for the best chance of a quick recovery, and signs to look out for include muscle cramps, sweating (or a complete lack of sweating despite the heat), skin that’s cool to touch, headache, nausea and vomiting, and a fast heartbeat.

"In these cases, it’s important to cool the body down even if the skin feels cold. This can be done with a cool bath or shower, as well as rehydrating with plenty of water taken in sips."

Your mental abilities and concentration can also decrease in the heat as the body and brain become dehydrated and exhausted.

4. You might get sunburnt

Male hand with a severe sunburn closeup. Sun protection concept
Sunburn and dehydration are linked. (Getty Images)

Pink skin is the external sign your body has had too much sun.

"Many people seek a summer glow by lying in the sun for hours to achieve a bronzed look, but it’s important to know that this is also skin damage, and can not only be painful now, but it could cause more problems later in life," highlights Dr Gall.

Sunburn often goes hand in hand along with dehydration, but is easily preventable.

"To avoid burning your skin whilst enjoying the sun, you should choose a broad-spectrum sun-cream and apply it often," advises Dr Gall.

3 buys to help you cool down

Buy it: Honeywell HT900E Turbo Fan | £23.88 (was £29.99) from Amazon

Buy it: LIVIVO Cooling Gel Pillow | £6.99 from Amazon

Buy it: John Lewis & Partners Handheld and Foldable Desk Fan | £12 from John Lewis & Partners

Watch: Top tips for protecting your skin in the sun