Healthy living

Clothing to wear during extreme heat

Wearing clothing that is suitable for extreme heat will make a difference in how you feel and how you manage during the day.

The type of clothing you wear affects how well air can circulate over your skin, as well as allowing heat and moisture (sweat) to evaporate. If sweat cannot evaporate from your skin, then both skin temperature and discomfort increase.

The following are advice on key tips on appropriate clothing options in extreme heat.

Appropriate clothing for extreme heat

  • Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home.
  • Opt for lightweight, light-coloured and loose fitting clothing. Flowing garments allows air circulation and light coloured fabrics reflect light and heat. This will keep you cooler.
  • Use natural fibre fabrics; cotton, linen and silk work best in absorbing sweat and allow the skin to breath. Synthetic fibres retain heat and poorly absorb sweat, increasing your body temperature.
  • Avoid dark coloured heavy restrictive fabrics and clothing.

Appropriate clothing for outdoor activities in extreme heat

  • Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible to protect against permanent skin damage.
  • Use long sleeves, pants and skirts in a light-weight, loose fitting fabric to provide protection for the sun.
  • Wear a well-vented, wide-brimmed hat (at least 7.5 cm width) to protect your face, head, neck and ears from the sun. Avoid peaked caps.
  • Sunglasses should be worn.
  • If you wear heavy clothes for protective reasons during hot weather (e.g. for some sports, motorcycling or work), remove them as soon as possible when they are no longer needed.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor
  • Visit a GP after hours
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222

Acknowledgements

WA Health, Disaster Preparedness Management Unit

SA Health, Government of South Australia.


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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