Summer brings with it a plethora of health problems. In the hot weather, dehydration sets in quickly and your skin becomes more vulnerable to infections. However, with some extra care of your body and skin, you can cope well with the burning sun and summer health hazards.
We chalk out the 12 best health care tips to practice this summer.
- Stay Cool and Hydrated: Hot summer weather can leave you dehydrated. Dehydration causes loss of energy and fatigue. Drinking adequate amount of water is essential to beat dehydration and stay cool.
Experts say that there is no fixed amount of water that one should drink. However, normally, men should drink three liters (13 cups) of water a day and women need 2.2 liters (nine cups). Children of one to three-year olds need one liter (four cups) daily. Children of four to eight-year olds require 1.3 liters (5.5 cups). Among teenagers, girls need to drink about 1.8 liters (seven cups) of water and boys need to drink about 2.6 liters (10.5 cups). Pregnant women need an extra one cup (250 ml) of water every day and breastfeeding women need an additional four cups (one liter).
These water intake recommendations don't account for hot weather and your exercise pattern. Hence, during summer, you should keep yourself hydrated by drinking water at regular intervals and the water intake must be more than the minimum everyday requirement.
- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: It may even be difficult for you to imagine a day without a cold beer or a chilled white wine spritzer. But - at-least during summer - you should avoid alcohol as it dehydrates your body. However, you can go on with mineral water or low-sugar fizzy drinks. Experts also recommend avoiding drinks with caffeine such as coffee and colas. Caffeine increases the metabolic heat in the body.
- Consume more Fruits and Vegetables: Consume more fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetable will nourish your body for summertime activities.
Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body produces breaking down the food. Avoid high protein foods like meat, fish, cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, nuts, and seeds, which increase metabolic heat.
Eat spicy food. You may be familiar with the idea of cooling your body temperature with a tall glass of iced tea, ice cream or watermelon on a sweltering summer's day. Eating spicy foods works differently. Spicy foods make you sweat. Once your moisture has evaporated, you've cooled off.
- Take Some Nutritional Supplements: It can support you with a greater amount of physical energy to be active during the summer. The B-complex vitamins are helpful for cellular energy production. Vitamin C and the other antioxidants protect your body from stress and chemical pollutants.
- Keep up or Begin an Exercise Program: Exercising or even walking may feel harder in the summer heat. But it is important to keep up with your daily work out. Otherwise the effects of exercise can rapidly be lost. Here are some ways to continue with your daily work out in the summer season.
Find out when temperatures are going to be the lowest in the day. Sometimes it's in the early morning or in the late evening. So you should fit in exercise during the coolest time of the day.
Invest in some lightweight, breathable or wicking clothes. They'll pull moisture away from your skin. Wear a hat to keep the hot sun off your head and face.
Also try to change up the type of workout to fit the temperatures. On super hot and humid days, do some cooler cardio activities like swimming in cold water.
- Stay Indoors: If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors. Elderly and anyone with a chronic illness should be more careful as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Burn calories by going along with fitness DVDs, jumping rope and running up and down your stairs at home.
Six Common Skin Problems in Summer & their Solutions Summer season is a hard time for your skin too. It is important to protect your skin from sun exposure and reduce skin conditions amenable to infections. Here are the solutions for six common skin problems in summer.
- Sunburns: The summer sun can cause red patches and rashes on your skin that give a burning sensation. Logically, the best way to protect your skin against these conditions is minimize your sun exposure.
You can reduce sun exposure by using a sunscreen properly. Apply sunscreen liberally all over your face, neck and arms 20 minutes before going out. Make sure you re-apply the same every 4 hours.
People with sensitive skin need to wear clothes covering as much skin as possible. An aloe vera gel face-pack can cool down the sunburnt skin at the end of the day.
- Dehydration: Skin also bears the brunt of dehydration. It can leave your skin dry, irritated and more prone to sunburn. To avoid these skin problems, drink as much water as you can. Carry a water bottle with you all the time and remember to drink water once every half an hour.
Also, fruit juices have been seen as a healthy drink option during summer. Fruits like watermelon, which are full of water content, are particularly good. You can also seek deep hydrating treatments to protect your skin.
- Acne: The sweat attracts dust and pollution floating in the air to our face. This combination of heat and dirt create perfect platform for acne and pimples to grow.
To minimize acne, skin should be kept clean. Carry your face-wash with you and give your face a quick wash thrice daily. Use a good facial cleanser every evening to keep your skin pores free of dirt. Use only an anti-bacterial face wash.
To contain inflammation, apply multani mitti (Fuller's earth) or sandalwood face-pack at the end of your day. Sometimes, acne might need medical attention. If your breakouts are severe, do visit a dermatologist. You may need hormonal correction.
- Heat Rashes: Sometimes dirt and dust clog the sweat ducts of the skin resulting in itchy rashes, blisters or mini bumps. Clothes can make them more irritable because of friction.
Prevent this condition by keeping yourself clean. Bathe twice a day using an anti-bacterial soap or bath gel. Rubbing the affected skin with ice cubes can help soothe the irritation. If the skin condition persists for a long period of time, meet a dermatologist.
- Bacterial Infections: The hot temperature gives a perfect environment for many bacteria and viruses to grow. People who use public transport, keep moving in crowded places are more likely to come in contact with bacterial infections. Even the bus seat or window you touch with your hand might be containing bacteria. Then we touch our face with these hands and resulting in skin infections.
So, keep your hands clean and washed most of the times. Wash your hands every couple of hours using a hand wash. If this is not practical for you, use a hand sanitizer. Most importantly, give up the habit of touching your face with your fingers all the time.
- Tanning: When exposed to the sun's Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the melanin pigments form a shield to protect the skin. The melanin results in dark pigmentation on the skin. The result is what we call skin darkening or tanning.
Using a sunscreen that protects you from 97% of UV radiation regularly is important. Wear sunglasses to prevent under-eye dark circles. If you want to undo the effects of tanning, use some effective procedures like laser skin rejuvenation, chemical peels or Microdermabrasion. Always consult a dermatologist to know the right skin rejuvenation procedure for your suits.
Recommendations for skin protection are given by Dr.Chiranjiv Chhabra, leading dermatologist & aesthetic physician; founder of SkinAlive Clinics in New Delhi.