Stay summer safe

Healthcare professionals provide tips on protecting yourself and your family from the summer heat



Published: Wed 18 May 2022, 9:00 AM

It's starting to get noticeably warmer with the long summer months on the horizon. As the mercury starts to soar, it is of utmost importance that we start to give extra attention to our body to protect it from heat-related issues. However, these summer months also give the opportunity to kids and adults to venture out. With the lower levels of tourism, many of Dubai’s family-friendly adventures become all the more appealing. Not only are the queues far shorter, but many family-friendly locations also offer special family-friendly deals that make Dubai a perfect place to spend some of the long summer holidays. However, many of us also prefer to stay indoors to avoid getting heatstroke. Whilst this may help to a certain extent, our body gradually suffers from what is called Vitamin D deficiency. The sunshine vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also plays many other important roles in the body, including regulating inflammation and immune function. In order to get our body systems running perfectly, sun exposure in moderate amount is necessary. While the midday heat might turn some away from Dubai’s pristine coastline, the early morning sees temperatures of little over 30 degrees, just perfect for morning exercises. But no matter how fit you may try to stay even during these months, sports injuries are common. Fret not, because they are totally treatable with common treatments at home, thus not hampering your summertime activity. How can one forget about skincare? The skin takes a toll from the heat and dry weather. One has to be very cautious while getting out in the sun. While it is advisable to use sunscreens and protective gears like hat and umbrella, we often tend to be a little careless. But one shouldn't. Prolonged exposure can do a lot of harm to the skin and not just in the outer layer. When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important, whether you're playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. It is critical even for your heart health. But over-hydration can also cause havoc to your body system. Moderation is the key. It's that simple. A little care can go a long way. If you are still unsure of how to stay summer safe, we ask healthcare experts to provide us with recommendations on how to keep ourselves safe from the summer heat, which if not checked, can take a toll on our bodies leading to various health issues. From advice on food habits to sports injuries and heat-related issues, they have the perfect solution to enjoy your summer months without hesitation. We advise you to take note for your own well-being.

Common health problems related to excessive heat

Heat syncope, a feeling of light headedness or fainting caused by high temperatures post a prolonged activity. Heat cramps or painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. Heat exhaustion or heatstroke, a life-threatening emergency condition, occurs when your body temperature rises above 104°F.

Precautions

- Hydrate yourself regularly, don't wait until you're thirsty to drink fluids. During intense workout, consider a sports drink as they can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid alcoholic drinks, caffeine or drinks with a lot of sugar, such as soda

- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30

- Dress appropriately with lightweight, light-coloured, breathable clothes

- Avoid midday sun

- Avoid Overhydration: Drinking too much water can cause water intoxication or disruption of brain function. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in the body becomes too diluted. Hyponatremia is a condition in which sodium (salt) levels become dangerously low

- You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors - exercise, hot environment, dehydration because of fluid loss (diarrhoea), pregnancy, cardiac and renal conditions.

Dr. Jimmy Joseph

Internal Medicine Specialist and Diabetologist

Aster Clinic Pavilion Mall, International City

Skincare in summers

The skin makes up for the largest organ in the body and plays a crucial role in providing an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between the outside world and the highly regulated systems within the body.

The high temperatures in summer can take a toll on your skin. What we can do to keep our skin healthy is:

- Stay indoors between 11am-4pm, carry an umbrella or stay in the shade

- Apply sunscreen if going out. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, atleast SPF 30 - 50, broad-spectrum protection (protects against both UVA and UVB)

- Hydrate and moisturise your skin, as excess AC, especially in summer will dry the skin further

- Keep your baths short and avoid using hot water as it can dry your skin and cause inflammation and summer time eczema

- Exfoliate 1-2 times a week, as it removes dead cells that accumulate on your face and make it dull. It’s best not to exfoliate if you’re sunburnt

- Wear cotton and linen clothing with lighter shades to keep skin cool and also to keep away fungal infections.

In a nutshell – follow these simple tips for your skin and keep it healthy and glowing during summers.

Dr. Nameer Abdul Majeed

Specialist Dermatology

Aster Clinic, Muwaileh, Sharjah

Vitamin D deficiency during Summers

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, which gets produced when the body is exposed to UVB rays. Because of high temperature and humid climate, exposure to sunlight in summers is low, which may lead to Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone problems like Osteopenia, Osteoporosis and individuals suffering from Vitamin D deficiency may feel fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness or cramps.

It is advisable to eat foods like cod liver oil, milk, yogurt, orange juice and other vitamin D rich foods. And by getting your Vitamin D levels checked periodically, taking supplements in consultation with your physician.

Dr. Sakram Naik Amgoth

Specialist Orthopaedics

Aster Clinic Al Khail Mall

Pregnancy in summers

Pregnancy is a time of immense joy and excitement for the expectant mother. However, like all precious things, it needs extra care and attention, especially in the summer months. The question that we commonly hear is, "Can hot weather hurt my unborn baby?" Hot weather will not harm the baby in a direct way but can do so indirectly by affecting the mother's health.

A very important part of pregnancy care is to stay hydrated. Dehydration causes low BP in moms, which can affect the blood circulation in the baby. This in turn, can cause growth issues in the baby, reducing the amount of amniotic fluid, which cushions the baby and helps the baby to move and grow. Another complication can be heat stroke. This happens on prolonged exposure to very high temperature, which can be life threatening and will harm both mother and the baby. What can be done to avoid this — stay hydrated and avoid going out during peak summer sun.

Dr. Kaveri Sharma

Specialist Gynecology

Aster Clinic, Al Nahda, Sharjah

Types of heat illnesses and their management

In the hot summer months when the temperature skyrockets, people especially those who are working or exercising outdoors are exposed to extreme heat. This exposure can result in a number of mild to even life-threatening health problems collectively called heat illnesses.

Heat Rash (Prickly heat): Develops due to excessive sweat collection under the skin, blocking our pores. Small red lesions like pimples appear on the skin and can cause itching. It is recommended to avoid further exposure, cooling the skin using cold compresses and application of soothing calamine lotion. Avoid using creams or ointments with petroleum or mineral oils as they may block the pores further.

Sunburn: Caused by exposure to UV rays. Appears as painful, red blisters on the exposed areas of the skin. Here it is recommended to avoid exposure to sunlight until the lesion heals, applying cold compresses and moisturising lotions and avoiding breaking blisters.

Heat Cramps: Frequent in people who sweat. This causes depletion of salt and water from the body, resulting in painful muscle cramps. It is advisable to drink water and electrolyte-based fluids.

Heat Stroke: Prolonged exposure to extremely high temperatures can cause a rapid rise in core body temperature upto 104°F or more, causing the sweating mechanism to fail, and the body is unable to cool down. Symptoms are rapid, bounding pulse, confusion, slurring of speech, agitation, dizziness, fainting or even loss of consciousness, red, hot and dry skin and maybe nausea and vomiting. Immediate treatment includes shifting the affected person to a cool area. Rapid cooling and rehydration are the mainstays of treatment. Seek medical help, if necessary.

Dr. Vani Krishna Warrier

Specialist Internal Medicine

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)

Injuries in kids during Summers

Kids wait all year for the summer season. It’s incredibly refreshing and opens up new possibilities for sports activities. Pushing too much, the kids might injure themselves — directly or indirectly. Falls while playing, gymnastics, cycling or jumping come under direct injuries. While muscle pull, ankle twist, sprains and strains are indirect injuries.

What can we do to keep them safe:

- Not leaving the child unattended, if young

- Wear protective gear while playing outdoors

- Warm-up exercises

- Ensuring proper hydration

If injured, follow R.I.C.E Protocol — Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation and consult an expert

Dr. Sandeep Ravindran

Specialist Orthopaedics

Aster Clinic, Al Muteena, Deira

Children's well-being during summers

Children are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of the scorching summer heat like dehydration and heat stroke because of their high physical activity, high metabolic rate and failure to recognize thirst.

Some effective strategies to keep them away from heat related illnesses:

- Take plenty of fluids frequently including water, fresh juices, coconut water

- Avoid caffeinated drinks, spicy and oily food

- Take showers and administer frequent sponging, if returning from outside

- Wash hands properly to prevent any food related or water-borne diarrheal diseases

- Dress them in light loose cotton clothes

- Apply sunscreen at least half an hour before going out, wear hats and sunglasses

- Never leave children unattended in a parked car, even if windows are open or if the car is in shade because temperature in the car can rise to dangerous levels and can cause heat stroke

Dr. Suma Arun

Specialist Paediatrics

Aster Clinic, Al Qusais (Damascus Street)

Urological issues in summers

Since human body is greater than 70 per cent water, summers are a testing time for urological issues. Maintaining good hydration is the key for well-functioning kidneys. Common summer issues are kidney stones and UTIs. The safer and best way to counter such issues is being informed about your health and getting in the habit of regular preventive health check-ups.

Dr. Rahul Bhatt

Specialist Urologist

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)

Healthy diet during summers

Summer heat can affect anyone as loss of fluids and salts from our body in warm weather leads to dehydration, cramping, low blood pressure and exhaustion. Healthy reminders for summers:

- Hydrate

- Eat timely, well-spaced meals and practice portion control

- Reduce salt, limit fats, snack smart and avoid junk foods

- Eat seasonal fruits and veggies, that contain water such as cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, cabbages etc.

- Tender coconut water is a great natural drink.

- Including more liquids like basil seeds water, barley water, buttermilk etc. to replenish the fluids

- Start and end your day with a big glass of water

- During summer, foods also tend to get spoilt easily, leading to food poisoning and other illnesses. Hence, proper food handling and storage are crucial.

Ms. Lubna Abdussalam Dhalani

Dietician

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)

Headaches and dizziness during summers

Headaches and dizziness during summer can occur from various heat-related illnesses like hyperthermia to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

- In cases experiencing severe headache or dizziness under the sun, move the affected person to a shaded or AC area

- Make the person lie down with their feet elevated above the level of their head (raise the legs)

- Remove excess clothing, equipment and hydrate with chilled water and apply cold, wet towels on the body surface

- In case of no improvement, transport the patient to an emergency department quickly

Dr. Abhinav Gupta

Specialist Internal Medicine

Aster Clinic, Arabian Ranches

Importance of Hydration

Every day, we lose water through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. About 20 per cent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. Depending on the activity, one needs to modify the total fluid intake based on several factors. Hot or humid weather can make one sweat and requires additional fluid. Body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. While plain water should do the trick, drinks containing oral rehydration formula and certain natural minerals containing drinks such as coconut water give an extra boost with electrolytes. On the flip side, exercise caution as excessive consumption of water is not good for one’s health especially if one has kidney or liver problems. Too much fluid consumption can become serious when it causes a dilution of sodium in blood. This creates a swelling of the brain and lungs, as fluid shifts to try to balance out blood sodium levels.

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Khandelwal

Specialist Internal Medicine

Aster Clinic

Barsha Heights (Tecom)


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