Keeping it cool


Holidays are a great time to have fun outdoors. But due to the heat, being outdoors is often less than ideal. Some simple changes and modifications in one’s routine can ensure that the holidays continue to be a fun experience without causing harm to the body

Summers are synonymous with trips to the beach, picnics, swimming in the pool, cooling off in the natural freshwater springs, treks, sports and a host of other outdoor activities. However, due to the harsh glare of the sun during the summer, staying outdoors can be less than ideal. Thus it’s important to stay protected from the heat, stay fit and have a wonderful experience.

“It’s best to avoid strenuous outdoor activities when the sun is at its harshest,” says consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Healthway Hospitals, Mahendra Kudchadkar. Instead, he advises, go out in the early mornings and evenings – before 10 a.m. and post 4 p.m. is ideal for a run, cycling, sports and other vigorous activities.

Sweating is a natural mechanism to decrease our body temperature. In summer the external heat leads to a faster elevation in the internal temperature of the body resulting in increased sweating.

Any outdoor sport involving long endurance which results in a lot of sweating is best avoided. “This is because excessive sweating causes loss of electrolytes and dehydration. Common symptoms of dehydration include cramps, light-headedness and fainting spells. Dehydration results from loss of fluids and minerals like sodium, potassium, chlorides and calcium and can cause improper contraction of muscles leading to early fatigue and cramps,” explains Kudchadkar.

Due to this, it is advised to wear loose cotton clothing to ease the sweat evaporation which can prevent a lot of skin problems like bacterial and fungal infections,” explains dermatologist at Healthway Hospitals, Anupama Kudchadkar. “Cotton clothes help to absorb sweat. Use of light colours or whites promotes reflection rather than absorption of the sunlight,” she adds.

Before stepping into the sun, apply some sunscreen. “A sunscreen between 20-50 SPF is advisable to be applied over areas exposed to the sun. If heading to the beach or pool for a swim, sunscreen application above 50 SPF is recommended. This application needs to be repeated in case the sunscreen gets washed off by water. It is useful in preventing skin tan, skin burn, and photosensitive skin disorders,” she says.

In Goa, it’s a common practice to visit natural springs for its cooling effect and medicinal value.

When having a bath opt for your daily shower in lukewarm or regular temperature water using regular soap. The use of dusting powders on the body especially in areas such as the underarms and groins minimises sweat and infections. In case of any existing skin problems, get it treated.

Ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the day and consume 3 to 4 litres per day. Lukewarm water, room temperature or slightly chilled water is recommended. Ice cubes or extremely cold water should be avoided when exposed to a harsh environment. The sudden extreme change in temperatures can result in lowering the immunity and repeated upper respiratory tract infections. 

Dietary habits and fluids solve most problems related to the skin as they help in increasing the immunity and health of your skin. Seasonal fruits and fresh fruit juices are highly recommended along with salads, vegetables, tender coconut and curds. It is best to avoid oily and spicy foods and limit the intake of poultry, red meat and eggs which are difficult to digest.