Summer Health Tips Summer Safety Tips

Summer Health Tips

Summer Health Tips

Its 40-50 degrees out there, and your skin seems to be sucking the heat in deeper into your body rather than helping you cool down. An occasional afternoon downpour brings more grief than relief for it layers on humidity that is thick enough to slice with a knife. Throw in a little pollution and each second becomes pure hell when you are outdoors.

The recently past heat wave seems to be consuming India and is probably indicative of an approaching hot summer, for brutal May, sizzling June and searing July and August are yet to come.

On sultry, humid days, muscles compete with the skin for blood circulation. When it's hot outside, more blood flows near the skin to help dissipate body heat and cool the body down thereby keeping your body's temperature from rising to dangerous levels. But that can mean less blood reaches muscles, hence the lethargy.

At the same time, as when your body becomes hotter, muscle enzymes speed up and burn glycogen more rapidly, depleting stores of the sugar that your muscles use for fuel. Hence it's imperative to drink plenty of fluids that would help hydrate your muscles and skin adequately in order to maintain internal cooling down.

Eat light, small, frequent meals. Start the morning with a sweet, juicy fruit at breakfast. Ripe summer fruits - peaches, plums, melons and pears, are exactly what your skin craves for in the hot season. Citrus fruits are also very cooling. Eat whole or extract their juice, store in the refrigerator and sip often throughout the day. 

Include salads in your diet. Consuming leafy lettuce and summer greens, corn on cob and cucumbers, in salads are delicious ways to stay cool. These foods contain a significant amount of water and can actually thin the blood, which has a cooling effect. Onions too are great in the summer, because of their ability to beat the heat and provide relief from summer ailments. So, throw in some washed onion slices onto a sandwich, or in your salad.

If you get burnt (sun stroke or heat stroke), seek relief by sipping on green tea or take a spoon of onion juice. They are potent antioxidants that can neutralize cellular damage caused by the sun's rays.
To cool the body through sweating, add small amounts of hot spices to food while cooking. Hot peppers, fresh ginger, and black pepper are all great spices to make it really hot for you and then to cool you down. 

Hydrate your body. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Water is the best drink as it doesn't contain any sugars that can add up to unnecessary calories. For a change, a lemon and honey drink can also instantly replenish your body's lost fluids and work as an energizer. Drink fluids even if you are not yet thirsty. Once you have the feeling of being thirsty means you are already dehydrated. 
Wear loose, full-sleeved cotton clothes to protect the body from the sun and to aid evaporation of sweat. Use a hat to protect your head from the sun you go out

Stay indoors. Restrict outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day - early mornings before 10.30am or late evenings after 5.30pm

If you're a non-vegetarian, you should limit red meat and instead go for fish and oysters.
Avoid extreme cold foods and drinks - most of us normally pick these and they are actually known to interfere with digestion and sweating, thereby interfering with the body's natural cooling mechanisms.

So, however tempting it may be to sit on your porch licking an ice cream cone or sipping a cool glass of tea, try a wedge of watermelon instead.As the mercury rises, the last thing on one's mind is food - but if you eat smart, small & light meals and accompany it with plenty of fluids you will be a cool winner. But remember the best place to start the cooling process is in your body's core.

Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others—infants, young children, people age 65 and over, people who have a mental illness, and people with health conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
  • Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
  • Keep food and drinks in separate coolers.
  • Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. When the air temperature is above 90 °, do not leave food out for more than one hour.
  • Use clean utensils and dishes to serve food. Each dish should have its own serving utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Preheat cooking grills for 20-30 minutes before using.
  • Allow meat to completely thaw in a refrigerator before placing on a grill.
  • Marinate meat in a tightly sealed plastic container or sealable plastic bag, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Do not reuse marinade.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure meats have reached a safe, internal temperature: hamburger-160°; chicken-165°; pork-150°; steak-145°; hot dogs-140°.
  • Serve grilled foods on a clean dish, not a dish used for raw meat.
  • Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed in a cooler within one hour after use.
  • Carry picnic food in a cooler with a cold pack. Remember, a full cooler stays cool longer than a half empty one.
  • Always take along some foods that don't require refrigeration.
  • A cooler will stay colder if it is kept inside the car and not in the trunk.
  • Keep coolers in the shade with the lid closed.
  • Bring along alcohol-based sanitizers or disposable wipes to keep hands clean.
  • When applying insect repellant, spray it away from food areas.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water and when applicable, remove outer leaves or skin.
  • Always assume that lake, pond, stream and river waters are not safe to drink. Take bottled water to drink.
  • Place all trash in nearby receptacles or bring it home with you for disposal.
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