The region has seen its share of hot summers, this year is no exception. As the sun swerves back toward our axis, we’re feeling the heat more and more, an unwelcoming feeling but it’s inevitable. Summer time is also when schools are out, ice creams run down our arms, hair gets lighter and skin gets darker, but are we really cooled off properly enough to withstand the heat all the way to September/October?
Summer high temperatures differ from random heat waves around the year, the extreme heat waves that hit the globe cause many preventable illnesses and deaths. The key to surviving summer heat starts with keeping a properly hydrated body, a key point in ensuring that you stay safe and cool this summer and at locations known for their high temperatures. The Kingdom is known for its overall mildly warm weather year round but summers are brutal in some provinces and workers are ordered to stay indoors during peak hours of the day.
The groups of people who need to be aware of the amount of their water most are the elderly, babies and toddlers and people with chronic diseases. There needn’t be extreme changes, but just enough for a safe summer season.
As mentioned earlier, drinking water is important to staying hydrated. Not only does it keep the body hydrated, it also helps in lowering the body’s temperature to its normal 37 degrees, with a core temperature of 35 degrees. Drinking lots of fluids no matter what your activity is essential, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water and keep the amount of sugary drinks to a minimum as they can cause more harm than good. Sugary drinks as well as caffeine drinks and sports power drinks are all diuretic, they cause an excessive excretion of urine, power drinks also give you more unnecessary calories and a boost of energy that can quickly be depleted. These drinks have anti-cooling mechanisms.
Signs of dehydration include bad breath, dry skin, muscle cramps, fever and chills and food cravings specifically for sweets. Saliva has antibacterial properties but dehydration can prevent your body from making enough saliva, causing bacteria overgrowth resulting in bad breath.
Dry skin is clear and evident on the lips and there’s flushing of the skin. It might sound counterintuitive, but exposing your body to hot weather for prolonged periods of time can cause the body to experience symptoms of fever and chills, that include fatigue, dizziness, chills, elevated temperature and irritability. Now comes a somewhat irritating symptom: wanting and craving sweets like no other. The reason why cravings increase during dehydration is because your body isn’t able to properly produce an enzyme, glycogen, in the liver that is the primary source of glucose in the blood to boost energy levels.
Water isn’t the only source of hydration, fruits and vegetables high in water content such as watermelon, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, strawberries, cantaloupe and so many other water rich produce help decrease dehydration not to mention the amount of vitamins and minerals that will help with your complexion, breath, and curb those extreme cravings. Make food fun this summer and experiment; have a smoothie, dip some celery in healthy yogurt/ranch dip, make ice pops infused with fresh fruit and a fruit juice base, have a salad with mixed greens, steak strips, watermelon cubes and some feta cheese. You can never go wrong with a vibrant colorful salad and so much more.
During the hot summer days, keep an eye out on the temperature and specifically the “real feel” feature available on your smart phone or computer and nightly news weather forecasts. Run your errands either in the early morning hours or late in the afternoon to steer clear from the peak of the daytime sun, temperatures can be too high for comfort and even cause harm to cars, evenings are also the best choice. So stay indoors in an air-conditioned place, shopping centers, super markets, restaurants or cafes even if it was for a little while, it’ll be enough to cool your body down before heading out again.
Summers call for fun under the sun, heading out to the beach and feeling the cool sand under our toes, but spending hours under the sun and body temperature rises, you can either take a dip in a pool or sea or shower. Another option is to wear lightweight, loose fitting, light colored clothing and hats. It’s easier to have cotton and linen clothes on because the texture helps sweat evaporate and not block them as synthetic materials do; polyester for example is a good option. If you must stay outdoors for a while, be sure to find a shade and relax under it for a bit before continuing on with your day. Never leave your home without putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, be sure to find “UVA/UVB protection” on the labels for added protection.
Major tips to keep in mind during the summer:
– Never leave a child unattended in a closed car, even if windows are open.
– Keep a water bottle around at all times to remind yourself that you need to stay hydrated.
– Snack on fresh juicy fruits or natural juices.
– Stay indoors unless necessary.
– Individuals with chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes, and those who are physically active should keep an eye out and contact their doctors when feeling uneasy.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two serious conditions most common during above average temperatures. The difference between the two is that heat exhaustion is more common than the other. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include intense thirst, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, dizziness and feeling faint. As soon as you feel these symptoms come up, find a cool place or under the shade to lie down, cool your skin by squirting water, place an ice pack around the neck or a wet towel, drink water or a rehydrating drink and relax enough before getting back up again.
So try to have a safe and cool summer that can be enjoyed by the whole family by just adding a few tricks here and there. Remember, water is your best friend.
Newsbd71/mm/28 July, 2016