How to keep cool during the heatwave

Hot weather on the way for the North Island.
Hot weather on the way for the North Island. Photo credit: Getty

Temperature’s broke records last week and weather officials say it could get even hotter next week

On Friday, Gisborne reached 38-degrees - the hottest day in NZ this summer.   

While exciting for beach-goers, these hot temperatures can be frustrating and even dangerous, particularly for babies or older people. 

For the rest of us it can mean tossing and turning all night in the heat, or sweating in the car on the way to work. 

Below are some ways on how to manage the heat. 

Keep your house cool

Buy a fan, but don’t just face it at yourself, place it in front of an open window to blow the hot air out of your house or alternatively, put a bag of ice in front of it to create cool air. 

You can buy a fan for $40 and if you run it for eight hours a day, over a month it would only cost you about $4. 

Use your heat pump on the cool setting.
Use your heat pump on the cool setting. Photo credit: Getty

Keep your windows open at night to circulate the cool outside air.

Close your curtains during the day to keep out the heat from the sun.

Use your heat pump in the cooling function - But check the filter is clean to be the most efficient. It’s not as expensive as you may think as you are only paying for the power that you use.It’s the same as when you are heating in winter. 

Have a pool party! Get a cheap paddling pool and enjoy. 

Getting to sleep

In order to sleep, there has to be a drop in body temperature. 

Some ways to do this are filling up your hot water bottle with icy cold water. 

You can even put your sheets in the freezer to make them colder. 

Keep hydrated and drink some cold water before bed.  

Kick your partner out of bed. 

It can be hard to sleep in this heat.
It can be hard to sleep in this heat. Photo credit: Getty


Parents also need to be aware that at this time of year, many babies will suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration.

Newborns have poor temperature controls, and are more greatly affected by temperature changes than adults are. 

Ways to help babies in the heat;

Cover them with only a sheet when asleep during the day and just one more layer at night.

Don’t overwrap or dress - light cotton clothes are best. 

Keep breastfeeding during the day short and do big feeds later at night or early morning.

Older babies may enjoy refreshing fruits like watermelon to quench their thirst. 

Breastfeeding mum’s also need to remember to keep up the fluids.

Getting outside

Wear a hat and don’t be complacent about sunscreen - you still need it even as we start in to the final month of summer. 

Try to avoid the peak heat times of the day, around 11am-3pm. 

Ease up on the booze 

A cold beer after a long hot day… Hard to beat right?

But consuming too much alcohol in this heat can actually be extremely harmful.

It can lead to heat strokes as the alcohol interferes with water levels, causing you to urinate more which results in dehydration, headaches, dizziness and confusion.  

The car

Heat exhaustion in a car for young children can happen in just a few minutes so take your kids and babies with you if you are leaving the car. Look for shady spots to park as car seats and buggy buckles can get dangerously hot in direct sunlight. 

Use your aircon for long roadies - if you can afford the petrol. 

Child in a car.
Child in a car. Photo credit: Getty

Elderly People

Older people also don’t regulate their heat as well as they used to. 

It’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure they are stocked up on fluids.

According to the Canterbury District Health Board, a lot of older people come into emergency apartments dizzy when they simply haven't had enough to drink. 


Did you know dogs and cats can only sweat through their paws and tongues? It is way harder for our four-legged companions to cool themselves down compared to us!

So wrap your pets in a cool, wet towel.

Make sure they always have access to shade.

Choose sensible walking times - early in the morning and late evening to beat the heat.

Put bird cages in breezy areas.

Never leave your pets inside the car during these hot days.