Not only is excess heat uncomfortable, but it's life threatening.
In August 2003, northern France experienced three weeks of unprecedented high temperatures, resulting in 15,000 deaths, especially among older people.
In England that year, over 2,000 people died during the same period due to heat, many elderly residents living alone and unaided. Keep watch on your elderly neighbors. This is where each member of society can help each other.
My husband was driving a cab in the summer of 2003. He suffered dehydration with horrible headaches and weakness because of his aversion to water. He says he hates it. However, now he has learned his lesson and forces water down his throat when trapped in the car's heat.
It's vital we all take precautions.
Here are some ideas for keeping cool taken from the Guardian and the Daily Mail:
Stay out of the sun between 11-3pm, when temperatures are at their hottest.
Drink cold drinks regularly and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
Pull down the shades on your windows when it's very hot.
If you have a fan place it nearer the window so it can pull colder air into the room.
If you need to cool down quickly, wear damp clothes. The heat from your body will cause the water in your clothes to evaporate, cooling you down. This may be frowned upon on your morning commute.
Counter to popular belief, the colour of your clothes proves of little benefit when keeping you cool. Loose-fitting clothes, however, are key.
Fan your face.
Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
Run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Because a main vein passes through this area, it helps cool the blood.
Eat spicy food. Although this may be the last thing you fancy in hot weather, curries and chillies can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, enhance circulation and cause sweating, which cools the body down.
If you have a basement, use it during the hottest hours of the day when the sun is highest. Basements are usually 10-15 degrees cooler than the upstairs part of the house.
Wear lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothes. Heat is trapped by synthetic fibres, but cotton absorbs perspiration and its evaporation causes you to feel cooler. The light colours reflect the sun's radiation.
Drink chrysanthemum tea. Practitioners say chrysanthemum is a cooling herb which clears the head.
Sleep on a feather or down pillow with a cotton pillowcase. Synthetic pillows will retain heat.
Sit back, close your eyes and picture snow. Research has shown that the body reacts to these daydreams, reducing its overall temperature.
Lately, the English summers have been very disappointing, and none of this advice has been necessary. What about your country? Can you share any advice for keeping cool?