The Heat Wave Is Here: Tips To Deal With It
With temperatures soaring above 40 degrees in April, incidents of illnesses such as heatstroke, heat cramps and exhaustion are on the high. Here are a few useful tips from experts at Fortis Healthcare.
Protecting school-going children
According to Dr Krishan Chugh, director and HOD, Pediatrics and PICU, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, children are very susceptible to sudden rise in temperature, extreme variations in day/night, as well as indoor/outdoor temperatures, due to consistent use of air conditioners.
Dos and Don'ts
- Avoid staying outdoors for long durations. Children should not be made to stand for long during school hours and should avoid playing in the sun on an empty stomach.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Apply sunscreen lotion and use an umbrella while stepping out to avoid tanning and sunburn.
- One must avoid eating outside snacks from canteen or open kiosks to avoid food poisoning. Food and water-borne diseases are very common in this period. Drink only Only bottled/filtered water outside home.
Tips for Adults
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. A lemon and honey drink can also instantly replenish your body's lost fluids and work as an energizer. Drinking fluids even when not thirsty is helpful to keep the body hydrated.
- Eat light, small, frequent meals. Ripe summer fruits such as peaches, plums, melons, pears and citrus fruits are a good choice. Include salads in your diet - consume leafy lettuce, summer greens, corn on cob and cucumbers. These contain significant amount of water and can actually thin the blood, which has a cooling effect.
- Ensure adequate intake of salt. Consuming the right proportion of salt helps maintain the blood pressure. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or excessive tea as they tend to dehydrate.
- Wear loose, full-sleeved, light-coloured cotton clothes that protect the body from the sun and aid evaporation of sweat. Wearing a hat or sun glasses is also helpful.
- Avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather and if you feel weak or dizzy after exposure to the sun, immediately take water or nimbu paani with salt and retire to a shaded cool place. Lie with your legs elevated for about half an hour to allow your body to recover and prevent fainting attacks.
Caring for Infants
According to Dr Rahul Nagpal, director and Head, Department of Pediatrics, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, the common health problems observed in babies during summer or seasonal variations are dehydration, fever, vomiting, sun stroke, prickly heat, dengue, malaria, chikungunya, insect bites, skin allergies and rashes. Precautions to be taken:
- Infants who are less than six months need to be frequently breastfed to keep them hydrated. Mothers need to be hydrated as well so that the breastfeeding is adequate.
- When bathing your baby, take special care to wash her neck, underarms and other visible folds in her body to keep her clean and cool. You could add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or neem oil to the bath.
- When you go out with your baby, keep her away from crowded places, direct sunlight and hot temperatures, especially the hot dry winds.
- Keep your baby cool and comfortable in loose-fitting cotton clothing that lets her skin breathe.
- Ventilate your home by keeping windows open, unless the hot dry wind (loo) is blowing. Pest control can also protect your home against all kinds of disease-causing insects, like cockroaches, ants and flies.
Protect babies from common illnesses during the summer
- A baby's sweat glands are still developing and so they are more prone to a heat rash than adults. Dress light and use talcum powder.
- If you're breastfeeding, you don't need to give your baby extra water in the summer to prevent dehydration. Just feed her every time she asks for it.
- Ensure your baby isn't overdressed and is getting enough fluids. Keep her away from direct sunlight.
- If anyone in the house has viral, ask them to wash their hands with soap regularly and keep your baby away from them.
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