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SAFE SUMMERS

Best Ways To Protect Oneself From Heat

Summer is a time to enjoy outdoor activities and eat
a variety of foods such as ice-cream and cool drinks. But this weather
poses challenges and can result in various health concerns. To have
a happy and safe summer, one needs to be extra careful to prevent
the hazardous effects of the weather. Here’s a list of some methods which
will help you stay cool and safe this summer.

Safe Summers

Safe Summers by Famhealth

Best Ways To Protect Yourself From Heat

Summer is a time to enjoy outdoor activities and eat a variety of foods such as ice-cream and cool drinks. But this weather poses challenges and can result in various health concerns. To have a happy and safe summer, one needs to be extra careful to prevent the hazardous effects of the weather. Here’s a list of some methods which will help you stay cool and safe this summer.

Stay away from heat during peak heat hours and protect yourself.

Try to stay inside especially from noon to around 3 pm, when the sun’s rays are directly perpendicular. If you have to go out cover your eyes and wear wide brimmed hats to protect yourself. Try to wear loose fitted clothes and protect yourself from getting exposed to direct sun and use sunscreen with a high SPF content whenever possible.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using air conditioners at home is the best way to protect oneself from heat-related illnesses.

Hydrate yourself

Dehydration can lead to various problems such as heat stroke. It is extremely essential to keep oneself hydrated, so keep on drinking water and liquids all around the day to keep yourself hydrated. A good amount of water is lost during perspiration; hence to compensate the lost water one must drink at least 7-8 glasses of water each day. It is also good to consume fruits and vegetables high in water content such as watermelons.

If you are dehydrated, you may experience below signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Cramping in muscles
  • Confusion

The best way to prevent dehydration is to slowly start consuming water. However, one must be careful not to guzzle an entire glass at an instance, as it might add an extra load to the stomach. Alcohol should be avoided, as it leaves the body dehydrated.

Be extra vigilant, if you suffer from below problems:

Heat cramps

Dehydration can lead to painful muscle cramps in legs and abdomen. Start massaging the cramped area and start rehydrating your body by slowly consuming water.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a serious condition which happens due to an extreme exposure to hot weather conditions. Usually, such individuals perspire heavily and their skin turns cold and clammy. It’s important to immediately shift the affected person to an air-conditioned environment. Rehydrating the person slowly with the water is essential to reverse heat exhaustion.

Heatstroke (or sunstroke)

Long hours of exposure or extreme physical exertion under the summer sun can lead to an extremely dangerous condition known as heat stroke. Unlike with heat exhaustion, people experiencing heatstroke have hot dry skin and a high body temperature — and they often have stopped sweating.

Sun and skin cancer

Sun rays have ultra violet light, which is extremely dangerous to the skin; exposure can result in skin tanning and ultimately can lead to skin cancer. Extreme exposure to sun can also cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles.

It is important to cover oneself with proper clothing; broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and staying indoors  can also help one from the damage caused to skin.

How to choose a good sunscreen to protect your skin?

According to US Food and Drug Administration regulations require labels to follow certain guidelines. Below are certain labels which should be present, while you are choosing a sunscreen for yourself:

  • Choose a sunscreen with “broad-spectrum” protection. A broad spectrum sunscreen means it should protect against both UVA and UVB radiations. UVB radiations cause sunburns and most of the sunscreen protect against it. But, UVA radiations cause skin cancer and ageing. Hence, a broad spectrum sunscreen should only be used.
  • Choose sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen with higher SPF not only protects for a longer period of time, but also has the capacity to filter higher percentage of UV rays. Example: SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%; SPF 50 sunscreens filter about 98%, and SPF 100 filter about 99%. According to FDA sunscreens with SPF 15 or lesser protect only against sun burns not against the skin cancers.
  • While choosing sunscreen you must be carefully observe that “Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweat proof”. It is advisable to reapply sunscreen after every 2 hours.

Protect yourself from viral diseases-cold, flu and viral fever

During the summer, the body weakens and becomes susceptible to viral infections. You can take some preventive steps to protect yourself against infections. Below are few steps which you can take:

  • Ask your doctor if you can have a flu vaccination.
  • Wash your hands regularly and keep your surroundings clean.
  • Consume antioxidant rich foods, foods with lots of vitamins and minerals to strengthen your immune system.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your immune system fight against infection.

Protect yourself from mosquito borne diseases

Indian summers harbor mosquitoes, especially during the monsoons. Mosquito-borne diseases result primarily due to viruses, bacteria or parasites and are transmitted by mosquito bite. To protect yourself from dangerous diseases like malaria, dengue take below mentioned preventive steps:

  • Use a mosquito repellent
  • Plan your day outdoor activities when mosquitoes are less active
  • Wear full covered clothes
  • Avoid standing water
  • Use a mosquito net
  • Keep the air circulated by using fans. It will make mosquitoes difficult to fly near you

Water-borne illnesses

Summers also harbor many water-borne illnesses like Jaundice, cholera and diahrrea. To protect from those infections follow some below mentioned steps by:

  • Practicing good sanitation methods.
  • Drinking boiled or chemically treated water
  • Avoid contaminated foods such as street foods
  • Food consumed should be properly cooked, as these viruses are heat prone and get killed easily with boiling and heating.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled
  • When you eat raw fruit or vegetables that can be peeled, peel them yourself.
  • Wash your hands properly before consuming food.

Food for healthy teeth

Proteins are vital for the formation and maintenance of the tooth structure. Proteins also protect the lining of your mouth. Some of the good sources of proteins that are easily available are soy, eggs, beans, poultry, seafood and dairy products.

Calcium and phosphorus are the building blocks of teeth and a rich supply of these nutrients protect the teeth against tooth damage. Some foods which supply high amounts of calcium and phosphorous are milk and milk products, seafood, tofu, almonds, green leafy vegetables, legumes and broccoli. Cheese is exceptionally high in calcium.

Vitamin D is a vital mineral that helps in calcium absorption. Sunlight is the richest source of Vitamin D. Other readily available sources of vitamin D are milk, fish, eggs, and cod liver oil.

Potassium is an essential trace mineral that helps in blood clotting, especially when gums bleed after an injury. Some good sources of potassium are fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also find high amounts of potassium in cooked spinach, cooked broccoli, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Did you know fluoride is a great mineral that prevents the tooth against cavities and also promotes the absorption of calcium in the body. Tap water is a source of fluoride and other sources rich in fluoride are black tea and seafood.

Foods to stay healthy by Famhealth

Cereals are rich source of calcium, iron, and vitamin B. A cereal, which is coarser and grainier, is considered more healthy and nutritious. Experts say that a good cereal meal provides you with essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables- Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and essential micronutrients.  Do you know the more colorful the fruits, denser the nutrient. Eating five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables is considered good for health.

To stay healthy, we need some fats in our diet; however consuming a fatty diet is harmful to our body. Experts suggest that the limited intake of saturated fat rich food items like ghee, butter, coconut oil etc. minimizes the risk of heart diseases and high blood cholesterol levels.

It is said that drinking about 8- 10 liters of water every day keeps the body hydrated. However; during summers or if you have an active lifestyle it is good to drink more water. Soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugar cannot replace the good benefits of water.

Experts say that exercise is the cornerstone of healthy living. Performing a 30 to 45 min daily exercise and sports like swimming, aerobics, power yoga etc. has shown good effects on our body.

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

Vitamin D is critical for good health as it is amongst one of
the essential for growth and development. Vitamin D facilitates the
absorption of calcium in the body. Deficiency of vitamin D can lead
to serious health conditions such as osteoporosis or rickets. Vitamin D
also plays a critical role in the growth and normal functioning
of nerve, muscle, and immune systems.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency by Famhealth

Vitamin D Deficiency

The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D, or the “Sunshine Vitamin,” is essential for healthy bones. The best ways to absorb vitamin D in your system is through your skin. The body naturally produces vitamin D in the presence of sunlight, but overexposure of sunlight should be avoided as it can lead to skin ageing and can even cause cancer. Thus, it is necessary to supplement our natural production of vitamin D with the right diet and supplements.

On the whole, everyone should take vitamin D daily in the right amounts. Certain groups, however, require extra amounts of vitamin D for the normal growth and sustenance:

  • Elderly
  • Breastfed infants
  • Individuals with dark skin
  • Individuals with certain conditions, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease
  • Individuals who have obesity or have had gastric bypass surgery

What are the sources of vitamin D?

  • This vitamin can be made by the body on exposure to sunlight
  • Fatty fish, fish liver oil
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolk

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

Vitamin D has many benefits. Its main role is to promote the absorption of calcium in the gut . Calcium is needed to maintain healthy bones and teeth.

  • In addition to keeping our bones strong, it also keeps the muscles healthy.
  • Vitamin D helps to boost the body’s immunity and protects from frequent infections.
  • It reduces inflammation in the body and hence protects from diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Vitamin D also promotes good heart health by helping in regulating blood pressure.

Which people are more prone to vitamin D deficiency?

  • These days, with the use of sunscreens and indoor work cultures, vitamin D deficiency has become very common.
  • People living at high altitudes are more prone to vitamin D deficiency as there are reduced amounts of UV-B at heights. UV-B is needed for vitamin D production by the body.
  • People who live indoors: this includes elderly people and those with health issues who prefer being indoors.
  • People with darker skin tones need more sunlight exposure to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.
  • A poor diet without the essential ingredients that contain vitamin D make a person more prone to deficiency.
  • Older people tend to produce less vitamin D.
  • Obesity also interferes with the internal production of vitamin D.
  • People with kidney and liver disease also have low vitamin D levels.
  • People who have a gut disorder causing reduced absorption of nutrients from the diet
  • Some medicines can decrease the absorption of vitamin D. These include some medicines used for treating seizures and tuberculosis.

How can I know if I have vitamin D deficiency?

  • It’s not easy to detect vitamin D deficiency. Some people with low levels of vitamin D have no symptom or take many years to show signs of its deficiency.
  • Deficiency of vitamin D in children causes rickets, in which there is deformity of the legs
  • In adults, vitamin D deficiency causes a condition called osteomalacia, in which there is weakness of the bones and a tendency towards easy fractures.
  • Lack of vitamin D can cause muscle and bone pains, fractures and deformities of the arm, spine or legs, especially in children.
  • Low vitamin D levels can cause repeated infections.
  • People with deficiency of vitamin D can lead to cognitive disabilities, including feeling low and tired, inability to concentrate or remember.
  • Repeated infections can also occur.
  • There can be increased chances of heart disease or diabetes.
  • Increased chances of developing diseases called autoimmune diseases due to a reduced inflammatory response in the body. These include certain thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and others.

Are there any tests to know vitamin D levels?

Yes. The best way to diagnose vitamin D deficiency is to get tested for it. Serum levels of less than 12 nanograms per ml is considered to be diagnostic of vitamin D deficiency, but the level might vary depending on the type of testing equipment. So, it’s best to check with the testing lab for its normal values.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

  • Vitamin D deficiency is treated with supplements that would be prescribed by your doctor, depending on your vitamin D levels. Generally, for adults, the recommended daily allowance is 600 IU. The doctor will closely monitor your vitamin D levels, as excess vitamin D gets stored in the body and can actually be toxic.

What lifestyle changes can help in maintaining vitamin D levels?

There are some lifestyle changes that can help in building up the body’s vitamin D levels

  • Having a diet rich in vitamin D. These include fish, cheese and egg yolk and meat.
  • Exposing yourself to sunlight for 15-20 minutes every day
  • Take supplementary vitamins, including vitamin D if necessary