It’s that time of the year again- that time when we sweat through all our pores and wait desperately for winters or rains to arrive. The summertime in India can be brutal even for the most experienced of us. Besides making us feel tired and zapped, it can even be downright harmful by increasing the risk of heatstroke. In fact, many people have been known to die of heat waves. So how does one protect oneself in this heat? Read on to find out-
10- Don’t wear black
It is basic science that darker colours absorb more heat, something that all of us learnt back in 9th grade. However, most of us fail to apply this practically in real life. When we move out wearing dark coloured clothes in the sun, they absorb more heat which is in turn transferred to our bodies, making us feel hotter. To help feel a little cooler during these brutal summers, avoid wearing black. Stick instead to lighter colours like white and pastels that do not absorb that much heat and do not increase your body temperature. Save the black clothes for winters when your body needs as much heat as it can possibly get.
9- Wear summer friendly fabrics
It is the thumb rule to surviving summers- wear light and breathable fabrics. These include cotton and linen clothes over synthetic fabrics. In order to feel cooler during summers, wear cotton clothes that absorb sweat and do not stick to your body. Fabrics like rayon, nylon, wool or satin etc tend to be heavy and make you feel hotter. Stock up on breezy clothes like skirts and kurtis instead of denims and knit fabrics. Even while dressing up, try to avoid satin and silk and instead choose smart dresses or skirts in cotton or some other light fabric.
8- Stay in, stay cool
Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not step out of your house, especially in the peak hours of the afternoon. The loo and the sunlight will be a killer combination to reckon with, so do not give up the comfort of your cool room at home or at the office with its AC and fans and coolers. Going out even for a few hours tends to sap you of any energy, making you feel lethargic and dehydrated. So try to stay in as much as possible until the sun sets and the weather changes for good with the arrival of monsoons.
7- Scarves and hats
If you are moving out during the afternoon, wrap a scarf or a stole around your head. Make sure that the scarf is of a light material like cotton. This will prevent the heat from directly reaching your head and protect you from the ghastly loo as well. Most women cover themselves with a dupatta before leaving their homes in the summers for a reason. It protects them from the sunlight and the hot winds to some extent. Alternately, you could wear hats which serve the same purpose and shade your face from the sun.
6- Exercise in moderation
While taking care of your health is important, exercising too much in this weather will most probably only affect your health adversely. If you lose too much sweat during the summers, you run the risk of being dehydrated. And exercising in the sun can also lead to a heatstroke. If you have to walk, do so in the early morning before the sun comes out- which happens as early as 7 sometimes and starts heating everything up. Or do it at night or late evening. All forms o strenuous exercise should otherwise be reserved for cooled gyms and indoor rooms.
5- Take a cool shower
During summers, you can easily bathe twice or thrice a day. A good shower can be very refreshing after a hot day as it helps bring down the body temperature. Showers and cold water baths also clean you of the sweat and grime that is sure to stick to your body in this heat. So take as many showers as you want to when you feel hot. They often help you feel energised when you are feeling tired and sapped of energy.
4- Proper Diet
Eat a healthy and light diet full of fruits and fresh vegetables. Cut down on food items that produce heat like red meat and dry fruits. Instead, opt for fish if you are a non vegetarian. People who like sweets should steer clear of halwas and ghee-rich sweets and opt for lighter sweet dishes like ice creams and ice lollies. Watermelons are a great fruit to have in this weather as they are rich in water and their amino acid boosts energy and cuts down on fatigue. Do not skip breakfast as an empty stomach can cause dizziness during extremely hot days.
3- Wear sunscreen
This is very important while going out in the sun. Always wear a sunscreen as it helps protect against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Half an hour before stepping out into the sun, cover exposed body parts with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. The SPF is the sun protection factor. Lather your arms and legs and feet along with your face. UV rays have been shown to cause skin cancer, so sunscreens become very important. Besides, sunscreens also help prevent tanning due to exposure to the sun for long periods of time. So if you want your face and body to retain its fresh complexion, use a good sunscreen before heading out.
2- Drink plenty of fluids
Remaining hydrated is very, very important during summers. Always carry a water bottle if you are going out. Getting dehydrated is a real risk, so do not hesitate in buying water if you feel tired or thirsty. Drink light drinks like lemonade or fresh fruit juices to cut the heat and replace the water lost through sweat. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks as they increase loss of fluids from the body. Lack of water tends to make one feel tired and lethargic, so mixing glucose in water is also a good idea after coming in from the heat.
1- Use your common sense
Finally, use your common sense in protecting yourself from the sun. If you feel like staying in would be better than heading out in the sun, postpone your meetings or schedule them for the mornings. Always wear sunglasses and scarves and a good sunscreen before going out and cover your body in light fabrics like cotton and linen instead of denim jeans and full sleeved satin shirts. If you feel too hot, turn on the air conditioner or go back home instead of risking a heatstroke.