Summer 2017 seems to be getting hotter by the day. With most metro cities hitting temperatures higher than 40-degree C, which is the mark for announcing a heat wave by the Indian Meteorological Department, cases of heat stroke, dehydration, headaches, sun burn and other heat-related health issues are on the rise. The scorching sun rays can bring about various health problems if adequate care is not taken. This is why it is crucial to watch one’s diet, stay indoors and keep hydrated by drinking large amounts of water and summer coolers.
Heat stroke is a common problem during peak summer months. It is a condition defined as overheating of the body as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The most severe form of heat stroke is when your body temperature reaches 40 degrees C or above, when the normal temperature of the body is 37 degrees C. If left untreated, it may cause damage to the brain and other internal organs like heart, kidneys and muscles. Some of the symptoms include, “sudden rise in body temperature, rapid heartbeat which may be either strong or weak, rapid or shallow breathing, unconsciousness, lack of sweat, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and seizures,” says Dr. Raman Abhi, Additional Director (Internal Medicine) at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in the capital.
“Exposure to heat for a prolonged period increases thirst and fluid loss. This causes dehydration along with weakness, discomfort and anxiety. Some people may feel dizzy, experience a headache or even faint,” says Dr. Sunil Sharma, Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital in New Delhi. It is therefore important to stay hydrated. Apart from water and other summer coolers like aam panna and chaas, you should make citrus fruits your best friend. They are loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants which work wonders to keep you in the best of health during summers.
To beat the heat, you can resort to several home remedies that work effectively. Here are our top picks:
1. Onion Juice
Onion juice is considered to be one of the best remedies for treating a heat stroke. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest that it should be the first thing you should reach out for to treat a heat stroke. Applying onion juice behind the ears and on your chest can help bring down your body temperature. For therapeutic purposes onion juice is more desirable, but you can roast some raw onions with cumin and honey and have it. Raw onions in chutneys or salads can also cool your system.
2. Herb Infused Water
“The best home remedy for heatstroke includes drinking water infused herbs like Brahmi, Chandan, Khas and Kevda. Brahmi and Chandan have a calming effect on the brain and help in keeping it cool and calm. It also gives you relief from headache, migraine and eye problems caused by excessive exposure to sun. Kevda and Khas have essential oils that help keep the internal organs cool. All of these have important micro nutrients like salt and electrolytes that are alkaline in nature to soothe the body and keep it cool in the scorching heat,” says Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath. You can drink water infused with these herbs or boil the water with the above mentioned herbs and consume it on a regular basis.
3. Cooling Ingredients like Coriander and Mint
Extracting the juice of coriander or mint leaves and drinking it with a pinch of sugar is an easy home remedy to bring down body heat. According to Ayurveda, these herbs have a cooling effect on the body. Some of the other cooling ingredients include tamarind, amchoor (raw mango powder), coriander seeds, cumin and fennel.
4. Sandalwood Paste
Mix some sandalwood powder and apply it on your forehead and chest. Its cooling properties will bring down your body temperature. Alternatively, massage some sandalwood oil on your forehead. You can also use the oil to soothe irritable skin.
Maintaining your body’s electrolyte balance is crucial this time of the year. “In order to prevent being attacked by the heat, make sure you drink plenty of water or have something like lemonade before you step out. In fact, you can make an oral rehydrating solution for yourself, which should be consumed if you plan to stay outdoors for a long time. Mix a teaspoon of sugar, two pinches of salt and one pinch of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. Take this with about 200 to 300 ml of water. You can also add it in juices or other drinks,” says Dr. Simran Saini, a Delhi-based nutritionist.
Stay hydrated and keep your body cool by wearing loose and comfortable clothes. Make sure you don’t over exert yourself physically in the heat.