Take a siesta: The official dos and don’ts to survive the summer heat in Spain

As Spain sizzles in soaring temperatures this week, here's the government's official advice for staying safe.

Take a siesta: The official dos and don'ts to survive the summer heat in Spain
Photo: AFP

As Spain's weather agency issues alerts for high temperatures across Spain,  here's a reminder of ministry of health official guidelines  to keeping cool and safe when the mercury rises.

Take a siesta

A worker takes a snooze in Seville. Photo: Karolina Lubryczynska 

It may sound like a Spanish stereotype but there is a reason why. In the hot summer months it’s advisable to say out of the sun and rest.

Official guidelines advise staying at home during the hottest part of the day – between 12 noon and 6pm.

Reduce physical activity, especially outdoors and during the middle of the day, although it is probably ok to spend some time in a cold pool as long as then are careful not to fall asleep in the sun when drying off.

Keeping cool at home (for those without air conditioning)

Follow the lead of your Spanish neighbours and keep the blinds down low and the windows open, this allows the air to circulate without direct sunlight coming in.

Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP

Take frequent cold showers or baths, according to the government guidelines.

What to eat and drink

Photo: AFP


The official advice is to rink at least two litres of water a day. The guidelines advise not to wait until you are thirsty but make sure you have a constant supply of water to sip at.

Avoid big meals instead eating little and often throughout the day, preferably fruit and vegetables.

Choose fruit that has a high water content such as watermelon or strawberries.

Avoid hot meals – there is a reason why gazpacho is so popular in Spain!

And steer clear from caffeine and alcoholic drinks as these can add to dehydration.

If you have to go outside:

If you have to be outside in the sun, ensure you take frequent rest breaks, stay in the shade and protect yourself from the sun.

Protect yourself with a hat, sunglasses and suncreams.

What to wear

The guidelines suggest that the best way to keep cool during a heatwave is to wear natural fibre, lightweight, loose-fitting and light coloured clothing,

The road to hell

Car journeys are best avoided, especially with reports that motorways are so hot that the asphalt could melt.

If you do have to take a long trip make sure you take frequent rest breaks and carry enough water for everyone in the car to remain hydrated

NEVER leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle.

If you have a dog:

Apart from the “never leaving your pet in a parked car” rule, be careful about taking them for a walk in the heat of the day as they could burn their paws on the hot pavement.

Spain’s Civil Guard issued a warning to test the heat of the road with your hand and if you can’t bear it for more than five seconds it is too hot for  your dog.

Look after each other.

Elderly people, invalids and young children are most at risk from extreme heat. Check in on neighbours and relatives, especially if they live alone.

Be alert for heatstroke:

Heatstroke is no laughing matter, so make sure that you are responsible and look out for others as the first heatwave of Spain's summer kicks in.

Spain's National Police have issued a set of guidelines to help identify the early symptoms of heatstroke; headache, dizziness, nausea, cramps, seizures. And advise that if you find someone with suspected heatstroke then you should move them to the shade, remove their clothes and give them water. If they are unconscious then put them on their side in the recovery position and seek medical help. 

READ  MORE:  Heat warnings issued across Spain as nation sizzles 

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Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.