Summer is the hottest, longest and often the most difficult season in most parts of India. Moreover, due to the extreme humidity level, people feel the temperature to be higher than it actually is. While the best way to beat the heat is to take a vacation to the hills but it is not possible for everybody to manage it at all times. Most people need to brave it out in such extreme conditions. Save yourself from all the summer illness like dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion by taking the following measures:
- Limit exposure to sun and heat- Do not stay out in the sun, especially when a heat wave is in progress or the time between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the summer season. Try to reschedule your work during early morning or evening. However, If you have to get out in the open for some reason, try to find a cool or air-conditioned place like a mall, shopping center, shady park or movie theatre as frequently as possible. Do not forget to carry an umbrella, cap or a hat when you step out. Ensure you cover yourself well with a scarf or full sleeves clothing. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to prevent sunburn as a sunburnt skin would take more time to cool down.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated- Drink lots of water, fruit juices, non-caffeine and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Do not wait to feel thirsty for fluid intake. Drink more than you require if you happen to sweat in order to prevent dehydration.
- Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake- Heat-related illnesses are worsened by alcohol or caffeine consumption since the body starts to lose more fluids than consumed. Thus, it can be said that caffeinated and alcoholic drinks increase the chance of dehydration.
- Keep Your Living Area Comfortable and Cool– During the night, keep your windows open to let the fresh and cool breeze come in and put the curtains down during the day time.
- Wear Breathable Fabric and Comfortable Clothing– Wear cotton or linen fabric since they are comfortable and light-weight. They let the air circulation around the body possible. Wear pastel or pale colored clothes as they disperse the light rather than absorbing it.
- Do Not Overexert Yourself- Avoid exercising or working out in extreme temperatures. Also, limit any kind of heavy physical activity like landscaping or moving furniture, carrying heavy bags from the grocery store, etc. during the hottest hours of the day. All these can cause physical exertion leading to heatstroke. In case, you cannot avoid doing such kinds of activities, drink plenty of liquids to keep hydrated.
- Avoid Spicy Food and Consume Fresh Fruits and Vegetables- Avoid eating spicy food during the summer season. Instead, include fresh fruits with high water content like cucumber, tomato, watermelon or any other orange or yellow colored fruits in your diet. Also, consume plenty of leafy greens.
- Take Precaution While Taking Medicines- There are certain medicines that increase the risk of heatstroke when out in the sun. Such medicines tend to interfere with the perspiration process. They may support water elimination. The body is unable to regulate its temperature during a heat wave due to the use of these medicines. It is essential to check with the doctor or pharmacist to find out if you are on any medication that can increase the risk of sunstroke for you.
- Things to remember when you have a toddler at home- If you have a baby, you need to be extra careful and watchful about it since babies cannot regulate their body’s temperature like the adults can. An increase in atmospheric temperature can be a real threat to infants. Heatstroke in infants is characterized by dry mouth, no tears while crying, the soft spot on the head slightly sunken, and no urination for 8 hours or more. Babies should not be exposed to the sun or heat for long and they should not be left alone under any circumstances especially in a car parked in the sun. If you have young children, do not let them play outside before the evenings when the weather is relatively cooler. Encourage them to play indoor games or read storybooks of their choice.
- Sunstroke prevention in Elderly- Apart from babies and children, people over 60 years of age are prone to sunstroke since their body cannot manage temperate variations as easily and effectively like young adults. Keep them hydrated and let them remain in a cool place. Certain issues such as hypertension, obesity, mental illness, alcoholism, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease make people susceptive to sunstroke. They should be given special attention during the heat waves and summers in general.
Hopefully, you will be able to prevent sunstroke by following the above-mentioned tips during the summer season. However, even after taking the required measures if there is an instance of sunstroke in your family, rush to the nearest medical facility immediately.