As the temperatures rise, it's a great time to enjoy one of the many water holes and creeks in the Far North. However at home or at work, it can be challenging to keep cool.
Here are 5 ways to help you stay cool and enjoy the summer:
It's a great idea to start drinking water first thing in the morning. This can be flavoured with a fresh sprig of mint or a squeeze of lemon or lime. One to four cups of water an hour helps in hotter weather as does preloading before working outside with two or three cups of water.
Sweat consists of more than just water of course, and we also lose sodium and other minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. So while drinking plenty of water is good, adding in electrolyte solution can be necessary.
This is advised when working or exercising hard for more than one hour in the heat and especially if you find yourself drinking more than 1.5 litres an hour of water.
So while kicking back with a cold beer might be tempting, cutting back on alcohol and drinks with large amount of sugar and caffeine is wiser - as these can all be dehydrating.
Juicy fruits and vegetables consist of 80–99% water so what better way to keep hydrated than eating a few slices of watermelon or a large salad? In contrast, highly processed foods like cookies, crackers, cereals, and chips contain only 1–9% water.
Fruits and vegetables with the highest water content include cucumber, celery, watermelon, strawberries, brocolli, grapes, oranges, spinach, lettuce and tomatoes.
In the tropics, light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing with a wide brimmed hat are the way to go. If you're home alone and out of the sun, wear as little as you can get away with!
Most heat is lost from around the neck and armpits so shirtless or at least sleeveless and low cut is best.
Shading windows, shutting curtains and, if it’s safe to do so, opening windows at night to let in cool air helps cool down houses. If you have an air-conditioner, making sure windows and doors are kept shut means you can run it at a higher temperature and save energy - and money.
Fans help reduce heat if you don't have aircon. Then a wet cloth around the neck plus putting your feet in a cool basin of water can provide a cool treat. Of course, if you are lucky to live by a creek or have a swimming pool, you can just jump in as often as needed.
If you cannot avoid working outside in the middle of the day, try to ensure that you are getting regular rests with cool drinks and food - either in the shade or in air con. Monitor yourself and fellow workers for signs of heat stress such as:
If left untreated, heat stress can lead to heat stroke with hot, flushed skin and reduced sweating. This is a life threatening, medical emergency.
If heat stroke is suspected, call for emergency medical help, move the person to a shady area and place them in a tub of cool water or cool shower, or spray the victim with a garden hose. Do not give them any fluids to drink.
If you would like to find out more, just book a free health chat or a wellness review. Enjoy your summer and keep cool!
Sarah Isaacs, Naturopath
Ph (07) 4085 0054