Doctors in the city give tips on how to stay safe this summer

Chennai: Kerala is lately in the news for its searing heat wave conditions. Tamilnadu is not far behind. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has given a heads-up for the interior districts of the State about the weather getting hotter.

“Maximum temperature likely to continue to be 2-3 degrees Celsius above normal at isolated places over interior Tamilnadu that includes Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, among others,” read the warning issued by the officials.

With the atmosphere sizzling, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH&PM) officials are pulling up by their bootstraps to create awareness about safety measures.

“When atmospheric temperature is higher than the human body, through sweating and increased blood flow to skin, the average human body temperature is maintained. However, it leads to loss of water and salt, thereby causing excessive thirst, headache, giddiness and fainting,” DPH director, Dr K Kolandaiswami, said.

Experts say that we are already in the peak of summer and opine that it will prolong till July in Chennai. While this is the forecast, doctors warn about the impact temperature rise could have on health.

Pointing out the basic problem, Fortis Malar Hospital Head of Department of Surgery, gastroenterologist, Dr T K Neelamekam, said dehydration is the cause that leads to skin problems and may escalate to sunstroke.

Skin is the most sensitive part of the body which is exposed to ultra-violet rays, causing blisters. Stanley Government Hospital General Medicine-Head, Dr Mohan Rao, suggested, using proper soap that contains 70 per cent total fatty matter (TFM) can keep such problems at bay.

Shedding light on common mistakes, Dr Mohan Rao said, “Talcum powder over-usage is something that people believe will keep them fresh; however, doing so closes the skin pores which leads to additional problems,” and suggested bathing twice a day with Dettol.

Further, fever is also a common condition that arises when there is an imbalance in maintaining body and atmospheric temperature.

“Heat stroke is not uncommon when the temperature ranges between 104 and 108 Fahrenheit. People working out in the sun, elderly persons and children are more prone to sunstroke that can even cause death owing to non-maintenance of body temperature,” Dr Neelamekam said.

Doctors state that a minimum three litre fluid per day for adults is enough to counteract sunstroke. “Children and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are exempted from this. Electrolytes can be supplemented with the fluid consumption,” Dr Mohan Rao added.

He also advised consuming easily-digestible, light food and avoid inclusion of spices that can emit bad odour due to the properties they possess.

MGM Healthcare Pvt Ltd senior consultant, Dr Swami Kannu, warns that people staying indoors are also prone to summer conditions – heat exhaustion, heat cramps and sunstroke. “The absence of cross-ventilation is something that people should pay attention to. In a few cases, the individual does not sweat and still gets sunstroke. Sweat is one of the major indicators, in such cases other symptoms like thirst and fatigue become the clues to find out if one is not doing well,” he said.


Bhavani Prabhakar