Summer in Egypt is a tricky monster to wrestle, and Cairo’s summer is nearly undefeatable. This isn’t just a guide for newcomers or visitors because it doesn’t hurt to brush up on our methods of sneaking around the monster! At best, the heat is merely uncomfortable, but the possible harm is much worse if not taken seriously. Heat stroke, for one, can have a long-term damaging effect on the body or even be fatal, and Egypt is no stranger to this fact.
Now that May is already upon us, we need a refresher on navigating Cairo’s scorching heat.
Light, Loose, and Bright clothes
You don’t have to forsake style. But, style does have to accommodate summer’s needs and not the other way around. This means some fabrics are to be avoided at all costs, like nylon, polyester, and acrylic, for example. It’s better to stick to cotton, linen, and chambray as a light substitute for denim.
Going loosey goosey is best as well, as it allows better air circulation to cool the body and help the sweat evaporate. The last rule is no dark clothes! We all know black is the king of colours, but during the heat, black is less of a cool prince and much more of an oppressive monarch. Dark clothes absorb more heat and transfer that heat to your body even faster.
Protect Your Head
A parasol, a wide-brimmed hat…even that ridiculous umbrella-hat is better than nothing. If you wear a hijab, the scarf will do a good job protecting your head from direct sunlight, but make sure to apply the same rules above.
The discomfort and headache aren’t the worst effects direct sunlight on your head can cause. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to impairments in motor and cognitive performance. So, pay extra attention to having your head covered when walking in the sun. Umbrellas and wide-brimmed or bucket hats are the best choices, as they protect the entire area, including the neck and ears, unlike other types of hats, like caps.
You might not feel the effect of sunscreen on a day-to-day basis as it won’t cool down your skin or make you feel less hot. That’s not what it’s designed for. However, sunscreen is essential to protecting your skin from damaging ultraviolet radiation. UV can cause sunburn, skin cancer, skin discolouration, premature wrinkles, and other signs of ageing, as well as reduce your body’s overall ability to fight illnesses. Consistent use of sunscreen will protect you from those effects. If your hair is thinning, make sure to use sunscreen on your scalp as well.
Glug Glug, Water is Your Best Friend.
Dehydration is always a severe problem. Good hydration is essential no matter the climate, especially in hot weather, since your body sheds its water to cool you down, and it’ll be a huge problem if you don’t consistently compensate for it.
Hydration doesn’t come only in the form of water, of course, but be careful as not all liquids are created equal, and some will work against hydration! For example, caffeinated drinks, sugary drinks, and alcohol can’t be considered hydration. Water-rich vegetables and fruit made into smoothies or eaten on their own, on the other hand, will be very helpful!