Home African Caribbean Feeling… HOT HOT HOT!

Feeling… HOT HOT HOT!

by Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly resident Diabetes expert

The aptly worded song title by Alphonsus Cassell, stage name Arrow is certainly what is happening in Britain at the moment with temperatures expected to reach the magic number of 100 degrees Fahrenheit this week for at least two days. That would be a first for Britain which is certainly not accustomed to such heat and would beat all records to become the hottest day ever.

Part of British culture and the British way of life is to, in conversation, mention the weather. It is often an ice breaker when people meet.  It has been known to periodically in a day, experience all four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Some like it hot and some like it cold which is understandable and one can never get used to these extremes of heat and cold and of course not forgetting the damp Britain is also known for.

The British Government has taken the unprecedented step of issuing the very first red alert heat warning based on advice from the meteorological office about the extent of the heatwave and the serious risk to life and property.  Parts of Europe are now so tinder dry that the inevitable wild fires are destroying properties and vegetation at an alarming rate.  As the earth heats up one has to seriously take umbrage with people who keep saying there is no such thing as global warming and climate change.  What planet are they living on as such ignorance is incredible when all the evidence shows otherwise?

Growing up in Jamaica I was used to the heat there.  However, visiting these days from what I sometimes call, ‘leaving the freezer of Britain’, one notices how hot it has become overtime whilst the residents there as cool as a cucumber in the heat, jokingly state that they can tell the visitors from the colder climes of the States, Canada and England with sweat pouring through drenched clothes.

The humidity is another issue in Britain unlike most of the Caribbean which tends to have cool breezes blowing to lessen the effect.

Here are some tips for surviving in these unusually hot temperatures.

Check on the vulnerable, the elderly and the homeless.

It is to be noted that even fit and healthy people need to be careful of heat strokes, heat exhaustion and the effects of the sun which penetrate through the clothing one is wearing.

Avoid venturing out in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak and staying in the shade as much as possible.

Wearing sun cream, some protection on one’s head and sun glasses/shades are strongly advised as is using a brolly/umbrella.

Black people in Britain are constantly advised to take vitamin D tablets/supplements during the winter months when there is less sunlight, as some are known to become deficient from this all-important vitamin which is acquired mainly from the sun’s rays.

Do not leave babies, children and animals such as dogs, which is often the case in vehicles as that would be a recipe for disaster since they will bake or roast like being in an oven.

Closing curtains and blinds is another effective way of keeping inside cool as is leaving windows open but do be mindful of intruders taking advantage of such a situation.

I am not a lover of fans as they just circulate hot air but some might find them useful. Those fortunate to have air conditioning should use them and not worry unduly about the electricity bill at this stage as keeping cool is the immediate concern.

Hydration is key at all times especially amongst the elderly who tend to as a general rule not drink enough liquids which leads to them becoming disoriented and confused. So, the importance of drinking a lot of water to avoid dehydration is a top priority for everyone.

There is no harm in skipping the usual physical activity for a day or so to keep the body from literally overheating.

Some people see a body of water such as a lake, river, pond, sea and dive in to cool down without thinking and end up getting in to difficulties often resulting in drowning. Please avoid doing that at all cost as no matter how hot it is in Britain the water still tends to be cold.

Journeys by train should be avoided as the tracks tend to buckle because they expand in the heat, leaving trains stuck and going nowhere. Going on journeys on the motorways where one is likely to get caught up in traffic jams should also be avoided during this period since the tarmac/asphalt can melt and cause further delays. Simply put, stay at home or as one would say in Jamaica ‘Tan a yuh yard’.

Finally, please visit reputable health related websites for additional information on how to cope in this oppressive and stifling heat. Stay safe.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


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Yvonne July 19, 2022 - 1:51 pm

Thank you Tony for this comprehensive and extremely helpful article on staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented British heatwave. Good to see homeless people included in the list of people we should all be looking out for. We do at least have our own four walls to provide us with some protection, so let’s give some thought to those who have no such protection.

Inderbir Kaur July 19, 2022 - 9:46 am

Excellent article, timely and useful tips written succinctly. Thank you for taking the time to write


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