Summer is the warmest season in a year with March to June usually being the summer months of the year. Summer is traditionally dry, warm and hot. In India, schools and universities have summer break to take a break from the long and warm weather. Like every season, summer comes with its share of troubles.
The scorching heat and unrelenting dryness bring with it a host of diseases if precautions are not taken. Here is a list of common diseases that tend to be in the air mostly during this warm weather.
- Heat stroke - the rise in body temperature as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperature can lead to heat stroke. An abnormal rise in body temperature or hyperthermia along with physical and behavioral symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, fast heartbeat and fever are noticeable.
- Food poisoning - harmful bacteria and parasites are the common cause of food-borne diseases. The warm, humid weather provides a fertile environment for bacterial growth leading to food contamination.
- Sore eyes - sore eyes or conjunctivitis are a result of viral or bacterial infection or allergy that lead to inflammation of the conjunctiva and persist for 4-7 days. They are commonly viral and affect entire families together.
- Summer depression- change in climatic condition and increase in climatic temperature may lead to mood swings in some people.
- Dehydration - this is one of the commonest problems that occurs in summer when water intake does not compensate for water loss. During summers, we tend to lose a lot of water and salts in the form of sweat without realizing. This needs to be replenished for the normal functioning of the body.
- Headache- summer headaches are fairly common as a result of dehydration.
- Mumps is a contagious and threatening viral disease that tends to become rampant during summers. It can be transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs into neighboring people. It affects the parotid gland in front of the ears, causing severe swelling, pain and fever.
- Asthma attack- due to pollen in air.
- Chicken pox- the virus flourishes in warm weather and affects masses.
- Cough and cold- unseasonal cough and cold can develop due to hot weather coupled with drinking chilled water and drinks to beat the heat.
- Sun burn - over exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation from the sun may lead to painful rashes on the skin.
- Measles is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. Its symptoms include fever, cough and runny nose.
- Flu is one of the common diseases of summer days.
- Water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and typhoid.
- Infections caused by mosquito bitess
Ways to Prevent and Manage Diseases during SummerAs summer approaches be cautious and prevent yourself from the harmful effects of the warm and hot weather. Ensure to take precaution against excessive heat for a secure summer.
- Drink plenty of water and increase fluid intake like coconut water, buttermilk and lemon water, both at home and while traveling to keep yourself hydrated. Ensure you have at least 10-12 glasses of liquids all day, not including alcohol.
- Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes as dark colored clothes absorb more heat and tight clothes do not let your body sweat. Opt for light and absorbent materials like cotton.
- While traveling or during outdoor activities, avoid heavy exercise; seek shade and rest.
- Never leave your child sitting in a car exposed to the hot sun and try to find park your vehicle under the shade.
- Apply ice packs and pain relievers for comfort if having sun burns caused due to sun rays.
- Wash your hands properly and follow general hygiene rules while handling food. Wash your hands before touching or cooking any food items to prevent food and water borne infections. Wash your hands every time you visit the washroom.
- Do not eat under cooked and street food and avoid eating outside. Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, sugarcane, and mangoes.
- Keep windows closed during the sunny hours like afternoon so that the heat does not get trapped indoors.
- Keep stock of ORS (oral rehydration solution) handy. Sachets are readily available for these. If not, you can prepare them at home- a liter of boiled and cooled water, 0.5 tsp of salt and 6 level tsp of sugar. Keep sipping on this all day to keep hydrated.
- To avoid sore eyes and further spread of infection, clean your hands properly, wash and lubricate your eyes with clean water to ease soreness.
- Vaccination with MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) is helpful against infectious diseases. If you or your child are not vaccinated against these 3 infections, vaccinations should be acquired at the earliest.
- Apply mosquito repellent and avoid mosquito breeding places.
- Keep your skin covered and protected by applying sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protector factor).
- Avoid too much exposure to the sun especially from noon to around 3 pm, when the sun’s rays are directly perpendicular.
- While traveling or for outdoor activities protect yourself from sun heat by wearing cap along with sunglasses. Hat and sunglasses will prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from hitting the sensitive areas on your face and will keep your face fresh and wrinkle free.
Summer safety tips- The body temperature rises as you lose water to dehydration. So replacing and drinking fluids is extremely essential to prevent dehydration and to keep the body cool. Increase intake of water and fluids. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
Health tipsEat small, light and frequent meals. Include fresh fruits and vegetables like peaches, plums, berries, melons, citrus fruits, pumpkin, bottle gourd, cucumber, and onions as they are easy to digest, have cooling properties, useful for stomach problems like acidity and will keep you hydrated. Increase fluid intake even if you are not thirsty in the form of coconut water, lemon water, fresh juices to fight against summer weather.