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Tackling heat waves, by experts

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The unrelenting heat that has characterised the dry season for some time now calls for smart and strategic lifestyle changes to considerably reduce the damaging effects. Former President, Association of Resident Doctors in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, Lagos, Dr. Olubunmi Omojowolo, said the common effects of heat waves on humans is dehydration, which can lead to such illnesses as, chickenpox, heat rash, psychological stress, fainting, tiredness or even death.

He stated that people should try natural tricks to stay cool and safe this season. Such measures include drinking enough water to keep hydrated, as evaporation of the sweat cools the skin, which in turn helps to cool the whole body. He said: “Drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. If you do not get enough water, you may become dehydrated, and the combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious situations, such as psychological stress, heat-related illnesses like chickenpox, heat rashes, loss of consciousness or even death.

Omojowolo noted that during this season, there is need for people to take more showers and check their pulse points. He disclosed that there is nothing like a cold shower during an uncomfortable hot day. He said: “It does not have to be a long water-wasting bath. A quick and more often rinsing of the body will do the magic. Know your pulse points. There are numerous pulse points on our body that can be used as cooling spots, when in contact with cool water.

“The pulse points, such as the wrists, feet, temple and back of the neck are places you can put a cool towel or run cool water over to keep cool generally. People should endeavour to wear a damp bandana, when exercising outdoors.”

Family Physician, Dr. Chukwuma Ogunbor, said people should eat smaller meals and avoid alcoholic/caffeinated drinks, adding that the more the individual eats, the more heat the body creates. He said: “Eat small meals throughout the day to limit the metabolic process that create, heat within your body. There is also need to consume foods that are cooling to the internal systems. Go for sweet and ripe summer fruits, fresh veggies, and foods that are bitter or astringent; rather than those that are salty or spicy. Make homemade popsicles and frozen fruits for your weekend adventures.”

Aside avoiding alcoholic and caffeinated drinks during this period, Ogunbor also urged people to reduce intake of foods that are rich in protein, for instance, red meats among others, as they increase metabolic heat.

He said: “You can also infuse your water with fresh fruits to encourage you to drink more water and suppress your sugar tooth. People should develop the habit of consuming more fruits this season. Keep a cucumber in your fridge and cut a few slices to soothe your eyes after a long day. It will not only reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes, but also bring down the overall body temperature. Feed on fresh water-rich fruits and vegetables, which are better options.”

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