Smile, it’s summer

Follow these simple tips to stay away from common summer inconveniences and enjoy the season to the fullest

woman in poolThere’s a Swedish proverb, which says: A life without love is like a year without summer. Clearly, there’s more to summer than heat and sunburn. But most people are unable to enjoy the beautiful season because it also brings along some health problems like disturbed digestive system manifesting thirst, diarrhoea, burning sensations, allergic reactions to pollen, food and seasonal changes. Other problems include insect bites, measles, conjunctivitis, and viral infections.

Here’s how to avoid these problems to appreciate the goodness of the season.

Block the sun

Excessive exposure to sun can manifest as sunburn, sunstroke, suntan or heat exhaustion. They are different from one another but can be overlapping in causes, symptoms and management.

Symptoms could manifest as any of these or together with different intensity—dizziness, nausea, light-headedness, severe headache, clammy skin, heavy perspiration, muscle tremors, cramping, seizures, irregular heartbeat and so on.

If any of above manifest, place the person in a cool place and give him lots of fluids to drink. If symptoms persist, get immediate medical help. A better way is to prevent these from happening.

  • Avoid going out in the scorching sun.
  • Use broad-rimmed hats or caps, or Indian style headgears like turbans, towels, and duppattas to protect from the strong sun rays.
  • Use good quality sunglasses.
  • Apply mild lotions to keep skin cool and healthy.
  • Shower twice a day. Apply cooling oils before and after bathing. Use creams/lotions made up of coolants like red or white sandal, neem, turmeric powder, and rose essence.
  • Drink tender coconut water with honey and / or cardamom.
  • Wear garments that keep you cool, like cotton.

Keep away from bites

Insect bites could cause symptoms with different intensities in different people—local swelling, swelling of the whole body or mucus membranes, nausea, asthma, giddiness, headache and abdominal cramps could manifest.

Here are some simple precautions you need to take:

  • Keep your surroundings clean; clear away any water logging in and around your house.
  • Clean the drains, ditches and gardens regularly.
  • Check that the doors, windows have tight-fitting screens to keep away mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Keep your body covered as much as possible.
  • Avoid venturing out bare feet and check places you choose to sit on for crawling creatures.

If you get an insect bite, remove the sting and give the area a mild rub. Apply either onion juice or honey over the region repeatedly. People rarely need much more medical attention. However, the management depends on the type of insect bite.

Mind what you drink and eat

Consuming food or beverages from unhygienic places and consuming stale food usually guarantees infection, which then leads to digestive problems like gastroenteritis vomiting, nausea, or food poisoning. Keep your food and your food habits as hygienic as possible.

People who go for holidays during summer are at a high risk of developing diarrhoea due to indiscriminate eating. In case this happens, stop intake of all solids immediately. Drink water with a pinch of salt and a spoon of sugar, pomegranate juice, or tender coconut water with fenugreek seeds to stop diarrhoea and replenish the loss of nutrients. Having lassi mixed with fenugreek/cilantro/coriander/sugar/cumin/cardamom/rosewater also helps.

Stay away from allergy

Allergies commonly affect children causing sneezing, runny nose, tearing, or skin rashes. Pollen, weeds, animal dander, mold, mist, mite, and chemicals are some powerful allergens. They can be troublesome if you already have a weak immune system.

Recreational water illnesses [RWIs] are illnesses that are spread by swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water and they can cause various infections of the skin, ear, respiratory system, eye, and could also manifest as diarrhoea.

In such cases, swimming in unhygienic pools, eating junk food should be avoided. Summer allergies can be prevented by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and adopting a healthy lifestyle with a regular exercise routine [that is inclusive of pranayama] to boost the immunity.

Shantala Priyadarshini
Shantala Priyadarshini, MS [Ayurveda], is an academician-researcher. Her areas of special interest are: chronic degenerative eye conditions, compromised states of immunity, cancer and auto-immune disorders. She lives in Mysore.


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