B Suvarnamma*, Dr. Hindustan Abdul Ahad
Balaji College of Pharmacy, Anantapur, AP, India
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the effect of global warming, tropical countries like India are experiencing severe hot weather right from the months of February / March. And very shortly the entire nation will be under the grip of severe summer. And people particularly senior citizens and infants are easily affected by such severe weather conditions and they find it very difficult to spend the days in summer. They need to be taken utmost care lest they are easily susceptible to various health problems relating to heat in summer.
With the onset of summer season people start suffering from serious heat related health issues such as heat strokes and dehydration which are considered very dangerous for the individual. People who are exposed to the sun throughout the day are at risk and are easily prone to serious health consequences which at times might even lead to the death of the individual in case there is no timely attendance and treatment to such patients. Hence taking all necessary precautions right from the beginning of the season would help people in preventing the heat related health problems. Thus everyone needs to follow some simple yet important precautionary measures or tips to protect himself / herself from heat this summer.
Signs and symptoms of illness that arise during summer :
When a person is continuously exposed to the sun, he / she are easily prone to such heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat strokes as well. And such heat illnesses can strike any person irrespective of his / her age. There are several symptoms that are seen in individual even in early summer. And heat exhaustion is the most common illness that affects most of the individual on continuous exposure to sun. The most common symptom of heat exhaustion is dehydration which can be experienced very commonly by many people irrespective of their age. Dehydration may be either water depletion from the body or depletion of salts from the body and this is one of the dangerous conditions that arises due to the complete loss of fluids and water content from the body and at times it becomes too serious and the patient need to be admitted immediately into a nearby hospital.
Some common symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
1. Excessive thirst due to water depletion from the body and thereby extreme weakness.
2. Severe headache and at times loss of consciousness as well due to loss of water.
3. Feeling of nausea and vomiting due to loss of fluids and salts from the body.
4. Confused state of mind and anxiety, slow and weak heartbeat
5. Frequent tension and cramps in the muscles and dizziness, profuse sweating and fatigue due to loss of fluids.
6. Skin becomes pale and urine will be in dark color which is an indication of dehydration.
7. Heat stroke or sun stroke is yet another common and serious illness that arises mainly due to continuous exposure to sun. And heat strokes if not treated in time might result in the death of the individual as well.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of heat stroke are:
Vertigo or reeling of the head, dry skin with hot flushes, at times rapid heart beat, very less urination due to loss of water from the body, Nausea and vomiting, fatigue, very less or no sweating, short breaths, confusion, delirium or even loss of consciousness, Convulsions at times
And an increase in the body temperature to nearly 105 degrees centigrade
Heat strokes may occur to a person all of sudden and in such a case immediate medical assistance should be given the person to save his / her life. Remember that always prevention in better than cure. Hence it is advisable to take all necessary precautions and preventive measures to beat the heat in the coming summer for a safe life.
How to save from heat in the summer?
In case of emergency immediately the patient should be taken to the nearby hospital for medical attention so that he / she can be saved from dangerous situation. Before taking the affected patient to the doctor give immediate medical assistance or first aid. Follow some of the following first aid which can be given to the patient as a save of the situation:
1. Immediately bring the person into a cool atmosphere but don’t place him / her in very cool AC room. Initially keep him / her in shade under fan and then slowly shift him / her to an AC room. And let the body cool down.
2. Loosen his / her clothes and ensure to free flow of air in and out of the body by fanning the person continuously till the body temperature normalizes.
3. Even an immediate shower of cool water can be given to the person or an sponge bath too will do good in such emergency case.
4. Next try to immediately rehydrate the body of the affected person by giving him / her cool and non alcoholic drinks. Giving the person much of water or cool and thin buttermilk or lassi or tender coconut water which is even more effective in cooling down the body as well as hydrating the body. And finally allow the affected person to rest for some time in cool place. Do not allow the person to go further for any more physical activities and let him / her take complete rest for the day till he / she recovers.
Dos and don’ts to protect from heat in the summer
Neglecting in any way to follow the safety and preventive measures in summer is highly risky and is harmful to the individual. Instead of waiting till the nick of the moment it is better to start following preventive measure right from the beginning of the season and thus protect yourself from summer.
Dos to remain healthy in summer
1. The first thing to keep in mind is to increase the intake of water from the beginning of summer so as to keep the body hydrated as much as possible. Also increase the intake of fresh juices particularly lime juice which not only keeps the body hydrated but also helps in boosting the energy levels in the body.
2. Keep consuming liquids like buttermilk, flavored milk, lassi and the like which help in keeping the body hydrated and cool as well.
3. When you go out in the sun always keep yourself protected from directly getting exposed to the sun by either wearing a hear gear like cap or carry an umbrella always with you.
4. Always make it a habit to use anti-glare sunglasses when you happen to go out in the summer. Even Indian women are advised to use these and no need to feel that sunglasses are worn only by men. Also don’t think that it is s sign of fashion but know that it is a way of protecting yourself from the extreme hot conditions.
5. Do make the habit of wearing light colored clothes as these do not absorb much heat from the surroundings, also wear clothes that are light in weight and loose in fittings and these will be more comfortable to wear in summer, when you go out in the sun, always carry a water bottle or a juice bottle and buttermilk as well along with you and keep drinking it very often at small gaps though you are not feeling thirsty.
6. Keep a whole lot of lemons, lime juice, other watery fruits, tender coconut water and other juicy liquids that are rich in fiber, sugar, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Stock these in the house and keep using these on a regular basis so as to maintain the hydration of the body.
7. Regularly include at least one watery fruit in your daily diet. Fruits like cucumber and water melon are full of water and taking these fruits for a minimum of two servings a day helps in maintaining the body temperature and also keeps the body hydrated. Compulsorily include a salad of fresh fruits / vegetables in your daily diet.
8. Eat simple yet nutritious and easily digestible food, stay indoors as much as possible during extreme heat condition. Make the home as cool and dark as possible by closing all the door and window curtains. A dark room gives much cooling affect than a bright room, instead of using curtain, you can even use khas khas nets and keep them moist most of the time. And this works like an air conditioner in keeping the rooms cool. In fact this is a natural and eco friendly air conditioner which is even safe to the health of the person, keep enough of ice cubes and ice packs at home in handy so that you can use it immediately at the time of urgency, keep yourself as much relaxed as possible and stay cool at home.
9. Keep more plants / potted plants in and around your house as this will help in keeping the atmosphere clean and cool as well and also helps in releasing fresh oxygenated air. Moreover, such potted plants / indoor plants adds to the beauty of the house as well apart from keeping the house cool and clean.
Don’ts to remain healthy in summer
1. Avoid wearing dark colored heavy clothing as these absorb much of heat and help in increasing the body temperature.
2. Do not go out in the sun without a proper protection like an umbrella or sunglasses.
3. Never directly expose yourself to the sun particular in the noon when the sun rays are direct.
4. Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages and also avoid too much of consumption of coffee, tea and soft drinks as well. Such drinks further dehydrate the body instead of hydrating. Hence reduce the consumption of such drinks that dehydrate the body.
5. Stay yourself away from outdoor activities as much as possible and also do not involve yourself in doing heavy and strenuous activities during severe summer as too much of exhaustion will result not only in dehydrating the body but also makes you fatigue.
6. Do not consume too spicy food and fast foods which act as enhancers for body heat. Avoid taking heavy consumption of food.
7. Do not even expose your house to direct sunlight / sun’s heat as this will make the house hotter.
Summer is fast approaching in our country and hence it is advisable to take preventive / precautionary measures from the beginning of the summer season so that you won’t be a victim of heat related health problems and the risk of suffering from such health problems are very much reduced. Hence give utmost importance to health during summer season. In particular give utmost care to the elders and children in your home as these people are at a higher risk of suffering from such heat related health. Hence keep them indoors to the maximum possible extent and in case of emergency give immediate first to them. And if necessary when the condition is severe, give medical assistance immediately. Do not neglect to follow these simple safety measures to protect yourself from the severe summer for enjoying a cool summer. Remember the saying that health is wealth and you can enjoy your life only when you are healthy. So, follow these simple tips and keep enjoying your summer instead of becoming a victim of the extreme hot weather.