For many, summer is a fun time as this season calls for recreational camps/activities, outings to hill stations and celebrations. However, summer-related disorders like sunburns, skin diseases, stroke, sore eyes are also part of this season. With mercury level rising, the risk of heat-related diseases also rises. Some common conditions for sportspersons include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke.
Some of the signs and symptoms of summer related diseases are:
- Delirium (restlessness, confusion, disorientation)
- Death (in extreme conditions)
Who are at a risk for summer disease?
Pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people who are on certain medicines including some medicines can make you to have a raised core body temperature. In addition, overweight people, those who are poorly acclimatized to high temperatures and those who overexert themselves under the sun are also at risk for summer related diseases.
Common Summer-related Diseases
Dehydration: This happens to people who play for a long time in the sun or to workers (such as daily-wage laborers) involved in physical work. And, if these people do not take enough water, it may cause hypertension too. Generally, children tend to get dehydrated with sweat while playing under the sun. Dehydration raises the risk of other summer-related diseases as well because it interferes with the ability of our body to modify temperature. Sticky mouth, thirst, chills, dizziness and low or no urine output are few dehydration symptoms.
Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a common summer illness if neglected can be life-threatening. Heat stroke symptoms include high body temperature, abnormal heartbeat, confusion, arrhythmia and breathing problems.
Food poisoning: Harmful parasites and bacteria are the most common cause of food-borne illnesses. In summer, the warm, humid weather provides a fertile condition for the growth of bacteria leading to food contamination or poisoning.
Urinary Tract Infection: This is another common disease that affects both adults and children in summer. Many women suffer from this during summer. They often do not know that their body is getting dehydrated and therefore, they do not drink enough water making themselves vulnerable to this infection.
Sunburn: Sunburn refers to overexposure of the body to the harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. This may cause, ache painful rashes on the skin, fatigue including mild dizziness.
Chickenpox: Chickenpox incidence is rising every year as the virus flourishes well in the warm weather and affects the masses.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea is the most common in hot summer months caused by eating spoilt food. Consuming unsafe drinking water and contaminated food results in diarrhea. It can be prevented by consuming hygienically prepared food and clean water.
Tips to Prevent Summer Disease
- Increase Fluid Intake: Drink more (non-alcoholic) fluids, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid consuming liquids that have a high quantity of sugar as these drinks can actually cause loss of more body fluid. You should drink a liberal amount of water, coconut water, fruit juices including water-filled fruits like musk melon and watermelon. Anything that can cool down the body and keep you hydrated. Cut down on chilled drinks, this can save you from stomach cramps.
- Remain indoors: It is better to stay indoors during summer, if possible, or stay in an air-conditioned place. If have to go outdoors, keep going to public places or shopping mall that can help the body stay cooler. Limit exposure to sun and exercise in the morning or evening when it is not humid and hot.
- Protect your skin: In order to protect yourself against skin diseases during summer, always use sunscreen lotion with SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more, 20 – 30 minutes before you step out in the sun – do not forget to apply sunscreen lotion to your feet and ears too. It is also advised to cover your face with a scarf/stole.
- Protect your limbs (arms and legs): Protect your limbs – arms and legs by wearing light-colored, light-weight and lose clothing.
- Avoid street foods: Avoid eating spoilt food and beware of street foods in summer, as the possibility of food spoilage is very common. Also, avoid buying packaged fruits and raw vegetables as they tend to get spoilt due to summer heat.