For a cool summer
DR. S. RAMAKRISHNAN's tips on beating the heat.
SUMMER has come to stay. One cannot avoid the sun's fury. The best would be to adopt strategies to cope with the effect of heat and humidity. The following tips for lifestyle modification will go along way to protect one from heat -related illness.
Ensure adequate fluid intake. Do not wait till you feel thirsty to drink water because by then you'd already be low in fluids. The best fluid is water. Water is the king of liquids. Small, frequent sips of water are more effective than drinking a copious amount of water at one time.
Alcoholic beverages, coffee or tea are not the right substitutes for water. It is also advisable to take fresh fruit juices. If your physical activity is more, increase your fluid intake. Decrease in urine output or passing dark coloured urine is a warning signal that you are short of fluid intake.
Salt is lost from the body when one sweats. Do not take salt tablets unless prescribed by the doctor. The salt in your food is sufficient replacement for what you lose through sweating.
Wear light, light coloured and loose fitting clothes preferably of cotton.
If possible stay in a room with an air conditioner. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they help evaporate sweat, which cools the body. Have a cool shower bath or a sponge bath when the temperature is high. Keep the windows open at night. Create cross ventilation by opening windows on two sides of the building.
Close and cover windows that are exposed to direct sunlight. Keep curtains or blinds drawn during the hottest part of the day. Stay indoors as much as possible especially, if the temperature and humidity are high.
Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Plan changes in your daily activities so that you avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Avoid the sun during the hottest hours especially, around noon and early afternoon. Wear sunglasses with U-V protection to protect your eyes. To avoid sunburns apply a sun screen at least 30 minutes before you go out. Use an umbrella to protect yourself from direct exposure to the sun. Avoid visiting overcrowded places which are not well ventilated. Never leave anyone especially children and elderly people and pets in a closed, parked vehicle in the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face, ears, and neck while travelling.
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness like cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke, some are at a greater risk than others:
Infants and children below four years of age; People aged 65 years or above; People who have a mental illness; Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure; Those who are on medications like diuretics, sedatives and tranquillisers which interfere with the process of sweating. Prevention is better then cure and if one has to brave the heat and cool the summer the best would be to follow the above to the letter and make the unpleasant summer pleasant.
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