by The Welthi Bureau | 02nd March, 2019
Climate change is driving temperatures higher as well as increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves. A recent report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that in the Indian subcontinent, global warming impacts have come sooner and hit harder than predicted.
As the mercury rises, so does the incidence of heat related illnesses. It’s time to take preventive measures so that we do not fall prey to any summer maladies. The most critical and basic measures we need to adopt are to watch the water that we drink and the food we eat. The source of our drinking water is critical to our health and we need to be particular about carrying water from home with us whenever we go out.
Children in particular should be vigilant about maintaining personal hygiene, eating balanced meals, washing their hands after playing, drinking more water and fruit juice, etc. Keeping the environment clean is also vital to summer health.
Here are some summer ailments and how we can avoid them.
What to avoid: diced fruit, cold beverages and ice sticks sold in carts on the street. These are dangerous breeding grounds for germs. Avoid water sold in plastic packets as you don’t know where it has come from.
Prevention: Drink boiled water, Aquaguard/filtered water or bottled water only. Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
High temperatures often lead to dehydration, if water and body salts lost in perspiration are not being replenished.
What to avoid: Staying out in the heat for prolonged periods of time, without drinking water.
Prevention: Intentionally drink more water. Eat natural coolants like cucumber and watermelon, and drink tender coconut water or lime juice with salt.
Eye infections - Summer is directly linked with eye infections.
What to avoid: Stay away from dusty areas if you are prone to allergies. Avoid rubbing itchy eyes.
Prevention: Wash your eyes frequently with cool, clean water, especially after being outdoors.
Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food or water. It is spread by bacteria, viruses, toxins and chemicals.
What to avoid: Improperly cooked/undercooked meat, unwashed fruit or food left exposed.
Food sold in the open by roadside vendors.
Water that is from an unknown source.
If you are out in the heat and begin to feel a headache coming on together with dizziness, cramps, weakness, nausea or accelerated heart rate, you are suffering with heat stroke.
What to avoid: Going out in the heat without a hat, and wearing clothes that trap the heat inside your body.
Prevention: Wear a wide brimmed hat. Drink plenty of water and wear cotton clothes. Keep to shady areas when outdoors, or just stay inside between 10 am and 4 pm.
Jaundice is a water borne disease and is caused by contaminated food and water.
What to avoid: Eating out at unsafe places, particularly from carts on the street where the food is open to flies which could potentially have sat on faeces before alighting on the food. Jaundice is the result of Hepatitis A which is transmitted by the “faeces-oral route”.
Prevention: Limit eating out to places which can be trusted with maintaining strict standards of hygiene.
Carry your own water with you. Drink only bottled water while outdoors.
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