Bhubaneswar: With the Regional Meteorological office sounding the sunstroke alert in coastal areas, the Odisha government has asked all departments to prepare a heat wave action plan to deal with any exigency.
Possibilities of sunstroke increases when the atmospheric temperature hovers around 40 degree Celsius. Following prolonged exposure to sun, the body temperature rises and it fails to cool itself through sweating, leading to nausea, tachycardia and muscle cramps. These can aggravate to dizziness, loss of coordination and seizures. The victims of sunstroke are mostly elderly people and children.
The state had witnessed the worst heat wave condition which claimed as many as 2,042 lives, in 1998. Since then, steps have been taken to combat the intense summers and these include holding morning classes in schools, keeping adequate amount of drinking water, ORS and first aid at anganwadis and schools and advising labourers against working during noon. Heat is the most intense between 2 pm and 5 pm, according to the India Meteorological Department.
With Odisha already feeling the heat, here are your best bets against the sun.
Limit exposure to sun
Stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day, between 11 am and 5 pm. Look for cool places like malls, cinema halls and shady parks when outside. Don’t overexert yourself!
Drink lots of liquid, say no to caffeine
If working, set alarm on phone and keep a bottle at your desk as its important to drink at least 2 litres of liquid a day. If outside, drink a glass of juice or plain water every hour.
Buttermilk, coconut water, bela (wood apple) panna and aam (mango) panna are not only refreshing but also energising drinks. Be wise and avoid alcohol and beverages containing caffeine as these increase the risk of dehydration.
Onion – the heat pacifier
Applying onion juice behind the ears and on your chest can help bring down your body temperature. Onion was extensively used as a medicine to prevent and treat sunstroke during Indian and Egyptian Civilizations. Raw onions in chutneys or salads can also cool your system. People also used to put a lump of onion inside their turbans or hats and you can have one in your pocket, so that the optimum temperature of the body is stable even in the scorching heat.
Don’t skip meals, avoid maida and fried food
It’s impossible to beat the searing heat on an empty stomach as the heat adjusting capacity of the body considerably decreases when you go hungry. Take food that are easily digestible and include fruits and veggies with high water content and Vitamin C in your diet. Avoid fried food and snacks. And nothing better than our very own pakhala to keep the body cool in hot summer.
Let your body breathe with light fabric. Comfortable and lightweight clothing allow air to circulate around your body, keeping you cool in the summer heat. Stick to light colour palette in cotton, linen, seersucker and chambray. Remember to protect your head by wearing a hat, cap or carrying an umbrella. Also sprinkle water over your body and dress to stay cool.