The summer season asks for a lot of care to be taken in order to avoid falling sick owing to the soaring temperatures and humidity in the environment. Here are a few tips which will ensure that you are able to maintain your health and fitness.
When the body heats too quickly to cool itself safely, or when you lose too much fluid or salt through dehydration or sweating, your body temperature rises and heat-related illness may develop. Heat disorders share one common feature: the individual has been in the heat too long or exercised too much for his or her age and physical condition.
• Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
• Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
• Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
*Monitor Those at High Risk - Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
-infants and children up to four years of age;
-people who overexert during work or exercise;
-people 65 years of age or older;
-people who are ill or on certain medications; and
-people who are overweight.
If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids; avoid overexertion; and get your doctor or pharmacist's advice about medications taken for high blood pressure, depression, nervousness, mental illness, insomnia, or poor circulation.
• Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
• During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
• Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
• Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
• Be aware of the heat. Pay attention to it and modify your activities appropriately.
• Avoid hot enclosed places, such as cars. Never leave children unattended in a car parked in the sun.
• Use a fan, if available.
• Stay on the lowest floor of your building.
• Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.
• Cover windows that receive a significant amount of sun with drapes or shades to help keep your house cool.
• Weather stripping and proper insulation will keep cool air inside your home.
These self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care but may help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble. Your best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities, and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.
--Dr. Sandeep Sharma
Physician, Jeevanti Hospital Ambernath