Tips on staying healthy during hot summer days

Hot summer days in Kathmandu and other places of Nepal are associated with increased illness of different kinds. Mostly incidences of infective diseases in hot summer days increase. Most common and serious among them in Nepal are Typhoid fever and Hepatitis (jaundice). Food infections with diarrheal diseases (amoebiasis, cholera, etc) and food poisoning are very common. As, in hot days bacterial and viral growth rate are higher than in cold winter days, other infections like meningitis, malaria (due to increased activity of mosquitoes) are also high.
Apart from infections heat stroke, skin burns and skin diseases need to be mentioned. Excessive sweating in hot days are commonly associated with dehydration which will cause headaches, weakness and fatigue, kidney problem and kidney stone formations.

1. Personal Hygiene is the most important. Although most of the time you try your best to maintain hygiene, but for those who live a busy life often forget to wash their hands frequently, specially after driving to dinner parties, we dive into snacks and drinks and washing hands often slips out of our mind. When soap and water are not available keep alcohol based hand sanitizers in your bag or in your car. Make sure the water you drink is properly treated (boiled and filtered). Be careful that ice is made from treated water. Try to avoid cold dishes when you dine outside of your home. There are vaccines available for typhoid, hepatitis and meningitis, but the cost and injection is the negative factor for these vaccines.

2. Protect yourself from Sun: Wear hats, cap or use umbrella to avoid heat stroke. Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid too much alcohol. Excessive sun rays are harmful to your skin and may cause skin cancer. Wear UV protective sun glasses. Put on sunscreen lotion or cosmetic with SPF 15 or higher.

3. Use insect repellants if your are traveling to malaria endemic regions (Terai). Using mosquito nets is the most efficient and cheapest solution.

4. While driving a long distance make sure that you have extra food and water in case of highway blocks. Do not leave children alone in the vehicle while parked, they get heat stroke very fast and there are many incidence of death as well.

5. Summers are swimming time. Swimming is very useful and healthy. But do not leave your kids unattained ALL THE TIME, even if they are good in swimming. Best time to swim is either early morning of late afternoon when the sun is not that strong. Use UV protective lotions.

6. Beer consumption increases during summer. Avoid drinking more than a bottle. Beer will cause diuresis (increased urination) and dehydration. Thus, keep yourself hydrated with water or other non-alcoholic drinks. Avoid drunk driving.

7. In case of fever or diarrhea and vomiting do not wait for the symptoms to subside by itself. Do not take any medications without consulting your doctor. Specially avoid medicines from pharmacies without prescriptions, except for simple anti-cold medicines or paracetamols.