CHENNAI: With Chennaiites already feeling the brunt of summer, which is evident from the number of juice stalls that have mushroomed on the roadsides, City Express talks to a doctor for useful tips and suggestions on how to beat the heat and stay healthy during hot days.
According to Dr Chandramohan, former director of Institute of Surgical Gastroenterology, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, heat, humidity and sweat are the main problems in summer that can lead to health complications. “Loss of electrolytes causes tiredness and dizziness during the day. The best way to retain fluid in the body is to drink tender coconut water or butter milk with salt. This will compensate the loss of sodium chloride in the body through sweat,” says Dr Chandramohan.
He also adds that drinking plain water is not enough, especially if you have diabetes and/or hypertension. “They’re prone to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), heat stroke and hyperpyrexia (extreme high temperature). The constriction or shrinking of blood vessels will result in reduced supply of blood to heart, lungs and the brain and this is common during rise in temperature,” he explains.
Since the elderly and children are vulnerable to this condition, they should avoid continuous exposure to harsh sunlight. “The elderly may also suffer from skin problems like heat rash and fungal infection due to poor blood circulation,” he adds.
“Water-borne diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A, jaundice, food poisoning and diarrhoea are common in summer, so people should avoid taking contaminated water and roadside food.”
Exposure to ultraviolet rays during peak summer is the reason for polymorphous light eruption (PLE) diseases like itching and redness of the skin. That’s why physical barriers are important than chemical barriers.
Using sunscreen lotions without proper regulations may not serve the purpose, but walking out with an umbrella, wearing loose, airy cotton clothes will be effective to ward off harmful rays.
Consuming vitamin C-enriched food is important. Humidity in peak summer causes miliaria rubra (heat rash) due to the exhausted sweat glands of the body. Using prickly heat powder would only worsen the condition.
“Take bath twice a day in cold water, consume anti-oxidant rich diet which helps regenerates sweat glands, and wear loose, airy clothes. These are the only way to beat the heat,” says Dr Chandramohan.