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Inside Out

Battle the heat with kitchen essentials

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We have no power to stop the sun from rising—and along with it, the dreaded hours of simmering heat from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

But that’s what we are blessed with: pure summer sunshine.

Is there a way to outsmart the sun and its many other side effects?

Heat stroke or sunstroke is the most serious form of heat injury which requires urgent medical attention. In short, it’s an emergency because it can kill and cause brain damage.

While the usual victims are people over 50, there have been recorded cases of young adults and athletes who have collapsed during an athletic competition.

Symptoms:

Fainting

Cramps

Exhaustion

Body temperature above 105°F

Throbbing headache

Dizziness

Red and hot dry skin

Nausea and vomiting

Shallow and rapid breathing

Seizures

Disorientation and confusion

Prevention

Hydrate with one glass of water every hour.

Stay in a well-ventilated area.

Minimize drinking alcoholic beverages (which will cause dehydration).

Take frequent baths or splash water on your face and head.

Eat cool foods like vegetables and watery fruits (watermelon, melon, strawberry, grapes, peach, cranberry, cantaloupe, apricot and apple).

Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors. The general recommendation is to drink three glasses of water two hours before exercise, and consider adding another glass of water or sports drink right before exercise. During exercise, you should consume another glass of water every 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Reschedule or cancel outdoor activity. If possible, shift your time outdoors to the coolest times of the day, either early morning or after sunset.

Monitor the color of your urine. Dark urine is a sign of dehydration. Be sure to drink enough fluids to maintain light-colored urine.

Measure your weight before and after any physical activity. Monitoring lost water weight can help you determine how much fluid you have lost and need to make up for.

Avoid fluids containing high caffeine, because it’s a diuretic. Also, do not take salt tablets unless your doctor has told you to do so. The easiest and safest way to replace salt and other electrolytes is by drinking sports beverages or fruit juice or placing a bit of sea salt on your tongue washed down with two glasses of water.

Check with your doctor before increasing liquid intake if you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention.

If you live in an apartment or house without fans and air conditioning, try to spend at least two hours each day—preferably during the hottest part of the day—in an air-conditioned environment like a mall. At home, draw your curtains, shades or blinds during the hottest part of the day, and open windows at night on two sides of your building to create cross-ventilation.

Warning: If the temperature hits 90°F, the heat index indicates the risk of heat-related illnesses. Especially when the humidity is 60 percent or more, this situation hampers sweat evaporation which ultimately restricts your body’s ability to cool itself.

Heat island effect

Do you know that concrete and asphalt stone heats up during the day? During a prolonged heat wave and poor and stagnant air quality, the heat island effect takes over. This means that the stored heat is released in nighttime temperatures.

So even if the sun goes down in the city, its heat is still inside the four corners of your house or office.

Preventive measure: Hose down your sidewalk or house to cool it.

Warning: People with health conditions such as hypertension, heart and lung disease, obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, are at high risk for heat stroke. If you have any of these conditions, do not underestimate the possible damage heat can cause you.

Heat rashes

Heat rashes can be annoying and uncomfortable. Characterized by small, red bumps on the skin, they tend to spread throughout the body starting in the neck area. Known also as prickly heat or sweat rash (miliaria in medical terms), the formation of heat rash is the result of the clogging of pores and swelling of sweat ducts.

Because babies have smaller pores, they are especially vulnerable to this problem.

Natural home and garden remedies

Aloe Vera: Freshly pick from the plant, peel off the skin and use only the clear jellylike flesh. Apply directly on the skin (remove the sticky yellow secretion first).

Cucumber: In a blender, place peeled and seeded cucumbers.  Use the vegetable as a skin tonic. As a mask for face and neck, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Cornstarch: Mix 2 tbsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp of cold water. Apply directly on the rash. Leave on for 30 minutes.

Affirm today: “I am cool.”

Love and light!


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