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How Do You Survive an Adelaide Heatwave?

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Published January 18th 2014
Adelaide has been sweltering with temperatures of 40 degrees or more for five days straight and at one point it was the hottest city in the world. South Australians usually endure a week or two of scorching weather each year, but this has been one for the record books and the hottest half of summer is yet to come.

If you're lucky enough to live and work in an air-conditioned environment, a heatwave should be mostly manageable (unless there's a power outage). However, many households aren't air-conditioned and need to employ alternate methods to beat the heat.

Moana Beach, Dogs at Moana Beach, Dog Friendly Beach
Chill out at Moana beach


Simple things like drawing the curtains and turning off heat producing appliances (lights, ovens, and computers) can make a difference while fans help to circulate the air and create a nice breeze. When that isn't enough, try spritzing water on your face, soaking your feet in a bucket of cool water, and draping an ice pack or damp towel over your shoulders. It can be quite revitalising and assist in keeping the body temperature down.

Air-conditioner or not, the simplest and most important rule for everyone to survive a heatwave is to increase water intake and limit diuretics, such as alcohol and caffeine, which can promote dehydration.

When it's too hot to be cooking in the kitchen, give your blender a workout by creating refreshing and nutritious smoothies, like the ones pictured from The Green Room on High Street at Willunga, with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and ice. It's best to have a light meal when the temperature rises as it's thought that large protein-rich meals can cause a metabolic surge and warm the body.

Smoothies, Fresh Juice, Green Room on High Street
Stay hydrated with fresh juices and smoothies


There's no such thing as a full night's sleep during a heatwave when as low as the temperature gets is 30 degrees. So save the sleep in for the cool change and head to the beach for a very early morning walk and swim. Of course, the beach is a great place to cool off, but save yourself from the searing sun and avoid a visit during the middle of the day when the temperature peaks.

The benefits of a drive-on beach like Aldinga Beach cannot be denied on a stinking hot day. You don't have to suffer burnt soles from staggering through the sizzling sand to find a spot and it makes the beach far more accessible for those less mobile.

You can't drive on Maslin Beach, but you can partake in a skinny dip if you're so inclined. Not only is it a nudist beach, it's also considered to be one of South Australia's most beautiful beaches. If you do find yourself in your birthday suit, remember to apply sunscreen, particularly to the areas that don't usually see the light of day.

Maslin Beach, South Australia's First Unclad Beach, Adelaide Nudist Beach
A skinny dip at Maslin's perhaps?


Indoor air-conditioned places, like shopping centres and cinemas, are ideal to hide out when it's hot out and Westfield Shopping Centre and Event Cinemas at Marion were especially busy during the most recent heatwave. If you're willing to battle the crowds, an indoor swimming pool, such as the Adelaide Aquatic Centre at North Adelaide or the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre at Marion, is a good option too.

During a hot spell, be sure to check on those around you, particularly those most at risk from heat-related illness - the sick, elderly, and babies. Don't forget that animals suffer from heat stress too, so keep pets indoors for their own sake and so they don't prey on any wildlife weakened by the warm weather. Make sure pets have access to plenty of fresh water and leave a bowl of water outside for wildlife that may be in need.

How have you been coping in the extreme weather, do you have a favourite place to chill out, and what are your tips for keeping cool during an Adelaide heatwave?
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Very topical, with useful advice, thanks Hayley.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11264) 2124 days ago
Cool down the brickwork of the house by spraying on water. Open the ceiling hatch to let hot air rise into the roof space. Put ice in front of the fan to cool down the air.. Head south to Robe!always 10 degrees cooler.
by carol (score: 1|10) 1267 days ago

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