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Summer simmers: Be wary of critical ailments; experts suggest precautions

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The rising mercury level in several parts of the country is likely to cause multiple ailments and health experts have asked people to take precautions. They also said that heatwave could lead to sunburn and fungal infections.

Dr Dileep Mavalankar, Director of Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, said the side-effects of heatwaves could be minor as well as major, which may sometimes result in deaths or even permanent neurological damage.

Beware of dehydration

With regards to minor side effects, Mavalankar said extreme heat can cause dehydration, for especially those who venture outdoors. It can also lead to heat cramps, fatigue. Extreme heat can also lead to heat syncope (fainting or dizziness).

“As several parts of the country are reeling under an intense heatwave, there could be more admissions in hospitals, he said.

Heatstroke is a common heat-related ailment, which could result in death, he said.

“With the heat stroke, the blood temperature also rises and proteins in the brain curdle. This could lead to neurological damages and sometimes even death,” Mavalankar, whose institute prepared Heat Action Plan for Ahmedabad along with the local civic body, said.

He also said indirect heat stroke stresses that elderly and those with co-morbidities are prone to it.

Intense heat puts more stress on organs like heart and lungs as they function beyond their capacity which could be hazardous.

“One can be affected by indirect heatstroke without venturing out,” he said.

Dr Sanket Jain, consultant pulmonologist with Masina Hospital, Mumbai, said due to the increase in heat over the last two weeks, many patients have complained of their inability to eat food as they felt having a bloated stomach. Many also complained of unsound sleep due to waking up at nights due to dryness of the mouth.

Take care of your skin

Dr Banani Choudhury, consultant dermatologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, also highlighted the fungal infection problem due to excessive heat.

The fungal infection acquired due to perspiration or profuse sweating isn’t acquired from someone else, it is due to the fungal flora that remains in our body, due to sweating they increase in number and cause infection, Choudhury said.

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“These infections can be in underarms, groins and then spread to other body parts. They are very contagious and spread through the body quickly and can also infect other people in the vicinity like family members,” Choudhury added.

Dr Harish Chafle, senior consultant – Pulmonology and Critical Care at Global Hospital, Parel Mumbai, said those at high risk must be monitored those at high risk and little extra attention needs to be paid to infants and young children, people 65 years of age or older, obese, those with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation.

He said one should avoid outdoor activity in the afternoon and wear sunscreen to avoid sub burn and tanning.

Chafle suggested drinking plenty of fluids and staying away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks as it could lead to body losing more body fluid.

“Excessive sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. You can replace the salt and minerals you lose through sweat with a sports drink. If you are struggling with diabetes, high blood pressure, or some other medical condition, please concern your doctor before you drink a sports beverage or consume salt tablets,” he said.
Shweta Mahadik, Clinical Dietitian, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, said rising temperature increases likeness for drinks due to the water content getting removed from the body in the form of sweat.

While having plain water is good, adding varieties is even better. Natural cooling drinks carry organic ingredients that help us keep going in this sweltering heat and maintain good health, she said.

Mahadik says lemon juice, kokam juice, jeera coriander seeds water, fennel seeds juice help lower the body temperature.

(With Agency inputs)

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