Summer this year has been very harsh. If you are in Northern, Eastern or South Eastern parts of India you will know what I am talking about. This is said to be the 5th deadliest ever heat wave that the world is facing and the second deadliest one in India (according to a news report in Times of India).
So far the death- toll as a result of heat stroke has already risen to 2330 across India. Places in Telengana and Andhra have recorded temperatures as high as 47 – 48 degrees. That’s like insane, and it’s not even a desert!
I am currently in Kolkata spending some time with my family and this city has become like a hot furnace. Probably a very wrong time for the visit, but couldn’t help. There is no sign of rain, forget the norwesters and storms that usually take place around this time in the Eastern part of India. It is insanely hot with the temperature soaring at 40 degrees on an average during day time. Life without an air conditioner is just not possible at this time. But that isn’t a solution somehow. How long can you be indoors?
I was researching on natural ways to protect self from this deadly heat wave and thought of compiling some essential tips that might help others.
1. Staying Hydrated throughout the day
The body produces sweat to regulate the temperature in such hot weather conditions and as a result of excessive sweat the body loses water and sodium. It’s important to keep yourself well hydrated to give back all the moisture that body needs. Taking 10 to 12 glasses of normal plain water helps to hydrate your body. Tender coconut water has been found to be very useful in restoring the lost sodium and potassium.
Liquids to avoid: Alcohol, coffee and sugary beverages. They are mostly diuretic and you will end up losing more fluids and be dehydrated.
2. Get in the Shower
The best thing of summer is you can take as many baths as you want. It’s better to take off the grime and sweat. I am currently taking 3-4 showers a day! I just can’t stand the sweat at all. Kolkata is a very humid place since it’s closer to the sea. What I am practicing is not drying myself completely after the shower. It feels nice when he water evaporates. It leaves your body cool.
Things you must avoid: Chemical laden deos and dusting powders. I personally don’t like talcum powders though they help to blot the sweat. I feel they clog your bodies pores and the skin cannot breathe. I would rather choose an antiseptic liquid rub which will help to prevent prickly heat infections also.
3. Getting your Clothing Right
Throw your silks, denims, and heavy fabrics at the farthest corner of your closet and get those natural fabrics out for the summer. Going out in this weather is almost a sin and going out in clothes where you are not letting your skin breathe is a bigger sin. Light cotton fabric allows the skin to breathe and you will sweat less. It’s time for all the florals and pastels dresses and kurtis. It’s in fact so hot here I have not even dared to touch any of my denims at all.
Clothes to avoid: Dark colored clothes, synthetic fabrics, denims, heavily embroidered clothes.
4. Scheduling your Work
I know it sounds difficult but you need to save yourself. Schedule your day in a way that you are at your workplace by 9 am. Unless it’s really required don’t even venture out from 11 am to 3pm. That is the time the sun is at his worst. Even if this means you are reaching your work place little early it is good, you will avoid the harsh heat outside.
And do not leave without applying your sunscreen lotion/ cream. So far Nutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen with SPF 50 has worked the best for me. I also use Chap Stick with SPF 15 to protect my lips.
Things to carry: Umbrella, large hat, a light scarf. Use any method to avoid the harsh sun rays – yeah even if it makes you look like Bandit Queen!
5. Eat Right
It is equally important to check what you are taking in this summer. Instead of spicy oily food choose well cooked fresh meals. Red meat and eggs increases heat in body so I am keeping them in minimum. Instead vegetables and fruits like gourd, cucumber, watermelon, pineapples, peaches and apples has lot of water content and helps to keeps the body cool. If you are someone you likes lentils and pulses it’s time to be generous with adding water in the recipe. The thinner the lentil the cooler you will be. Add leafy vegetables – they have good water content too.
Food to avoid: Deep fried fast food, oily food, foods with preservatives, street food, open cut fruits sold by the road.
6. Time to go Green
Bring home some foliage for your own good. Indoor potted plants inside or around the house keep the atmosphere cool and clean. You will end up making your house look beautiful and get fresh oxygen to breathe too. Win win situation for yourself. It’s also great if you encourage your family and kids to plant a tree – it will also help in nature in the long run.
7. Encourage indoor games
Most of the schools and colleges are closed for their summer vacations at this time to avoid the heat. Kids and elderly are more vulnerable to heat strokes. Encourage your kids to play indoor games than going out in the sun for a game of football, cricket or basket ball. Activities like swimming is refreshing but swimming in pools under hot sun is equally damaging. If you have access to an indoor pool – nothing like it.
While we are taking care of ourselves and our families it’s also important to realize your pets require protection in this heat wave too. Get your fuzzy friends a trim and a wash so that their skin can breathe. You can make a water bed for birds on your windows or terraces for birds. I have made one and it’s great to see the pegions visiting and getting their drink of the day!
Stay safe and stay protected. If you have any more tips for the summer do let me know. I’ll be happy to learn and add them here with due credit to you.
Linking this post to UBC Day 2.