By Garima Kushwaha:
Heat waves are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change and India is feeling the effect, says the National Disaster Management Authority on its website. This year’s death toll (2,000) can very soon exceed the worst ever recorded in India (1998, killing 2,541 people). Also, studies suggest that there is still more rough summer to come this year.
Hence, everyone needs to learn to survive the scorching summer days. Here are 10 ways to do that:
1. Water is your best friend
Drink it. Swim in it. Spray it. For a change, add lemon and honey and drink even if you are not yet thirsty. Keep yourself hydrated.
2. Include Electrolytes
Electrolytes (or salt) help in the absorption and retention of water. If you’re experiencing symptoms of mild dehydration or you’re just sweating a lot, make sure you replenish your salts. Try eating salted crackers/nuts. Drink sport drinks. They not only add water back into your system but also restore potassium and other essential electrolytes that are found in blood, tissue fluids, and cells. Yogurt can also replenish electrolytes.
3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretic and blocks the release of a hormone that is needed for water reabsorption in our body. Dr. Bridgwater recommends, “People should avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages because they cause dehydration”.
4. Get fashionable with hats
Try to match hats to your daily wear. Not only are sun-hats adorable, they help keep you cool and shade your skin from UV damage. Also, use sunscreen to cover all the exposed parts of your body.
5. Avoid the sun
Sunscreen and hats surely help, but if possible then you should avoid going out in direct sun altogether. Start listening to the weather forecast more often and avoid being outside during the hottest times of the day. Put dark curtains on your house windows to keep out pesky rays.
6. Wear loose-fitting and light-coloured clothes
When body temperature rises, it sweats to cool down. This is body’s mechanism to maintain body-temperature. Tight–fitting clothes can hinder sweat evaporation and hence cooling. Light color will reflect infrared or visible light.
7. Eat light, frequent, and healthy meals
Eat fruits and vegetables that have high water content like pineapple, watermelon, cucumbers, apples, pears, tomatoes and oranges. Onions possess immense cooling properties. Eat it in salad, sandwich or use in cooking. The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that controls body temperature, hunger and thirst. Eat food that supports its proper functioning, like leafy greens, carrots and seafood, which contain essential fatty acids, and food high in minerals.
8. Use Aloe Vera
Keep an aloe vera plant in the house, and apply to skin for a cooling effect similar to menthol. It soothes sunburns.
9. Plan for rest and take it slow
If you are working outside in heat, then go slowly, take breaks, and cool off. Don’t expose yourself to sudden temperature changes and let your body acclimatize to the outside heat slowly.
10. Seek a doctor
If overheated, rub ice on your body. This will help cool you down and prevent excess evaporation. But, if you have symptoms of dehydration such as high body temperature, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, seek immediate medical help.