Here are 3 tips to stay cool during extreme heat

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The Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit (0.06 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1850, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in total. The last five years have seen significant increases, with 2023 being the warmest year on record since global records began in 1850. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) currently projects a 61 per cent chance that 2024 will surpass 2023 as the warmest year on record.

Studies have shown that exposure to extreme temperatures can exceed the body’s thermoregulatory capacity, causing physiological damage and the development of heat-related illnesses. Exposure to hot environments raises body temperature, potentially leading to heat stroke.

Heat stroke can cause tissue and organ failure, and permanent damage to the central nervous system. Heat waves can also lead to an increase in heart diseases, such as heart failure and myocardial infarction.

Extreme heat exposure threatens not only physical health but also mental health. Studies have found that high temperatures can increase the incidence of suicide, mania, depression, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

Here are three steps to follow to prevent health problems caused by heat waves:

Keep your house cool

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Cover windows with curtains or bed sheets to prevent sunlight from entering. Shut windows during the hottest part of the day to keep warm air out. Open windows at night to allow cool air into the room. Use electric fans, air conditioners, coolers, and other electric appliances. Sprinkle cold water on the roof to cool down the surroundings.

Take light meals

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Drink plenty of water, more than 2.5 litres every day, to prevent dehydration. Consume beverages like ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) and Glucon-D (glucose solution) during excessive sweating to replenish osmolyte balance.

Drink lemon water and mint (pudina) drinks after coming from outside; other juices like lassi, guava juice, and cool drinks made from sattu (power made from several grains) are also beneficial during the summer season. Eat a healthy diet and light food with fewer spices and chilies, such as dal, rice, coarse grains, and curd. Prefer seasonal fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, and carrot. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee.

Keep cool

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Avoid going outside during heat waves as much as possible. Excessive heat causes excessive perspiration. Wearing cotton clothes is useful as they absorb perspiration and prevent skin infections from fungi and bacteria. Wear loose-fitting clothes; tight clothes trap warm air next to the body. Apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, masks, and elbow-length cotton gloves. Use an umbrella for shading during the summer season. Put a wet handkerchief or cotton cloth on your head. Take cool showers or foot baths with cool tap water.

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