Summer looks nice in the brochures. In this city, it means searing humidity, compounded by health risks that include dehydration, flu, viral infections, chicken pox, food poisoning, diarrhoea, even fatal forms of heat stroke.
“Heat stroke is a serious medical condition, in which the body’s core temperature rises — much as it does with fever — to a point where it causes permanent damage,” said Dr Anita Mathew, general consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, short and rapid breathing, and a rapid pulse. Stroke, however, is an advanced stage of dehydration. “It can be prevented by keeping the body well hydrated by drinking lots of water,” said Mathew.
The other major affliction of this season is food poisoning. “Food tends to get contaminated quickly during summer, so only eat freshly cooked food. Also, it is very important to boil water before using it directly or for cooking,” she added.
In summer, the sun’s Ultra Violet (UV) rays can do serious damage to your eyes. If you are outdoors now, wear sunglasses that filter out UV light. “Be sure your sunglasses filter out 100 per cent of UV light,” said Dr Suresh Arya, an ophthalmologist in private practice at Malad.
Asthmatics need to be extra careful. “Asthma patients are more prone to seasonal flu, which is why they must take preventive medication, flu shots, and necessary vaccination,” said Dr Anil Luniya, a private consultant with Hiranandani Hospital.
Bug bites are also common in this season, and they can turn serious if they bring an infectious disease along. Avoiding situations and environments that are bug-prone, use a good bug repellent and wear clothes that cover most of the body.
Children if not vaccinated for chicken pox are prone to getting the disease in this season. “Also, parents should ensure children are not allowed to go out to play between 11.30 am and 4.30 pm, which are peak sunlight hours,” said Mathew.