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Mon 23, Apr 2012

How to stay healthy in summer

Dr Mukesh Batra says you need to take care during summer.

Summer means fun and frolic but people sometimes forget that the scorching summer sun is not as kind on their skin as the winter rays are. The intense summer heat not only affects our body, but the skin too. These problems are further compounded by dehydration, leading to electrolyte imbalance due to excessive sweating. This also 'tells' on your skin harshly.

In such a scenario, no family would like to have holidays blighted by summer scorchers such as sunburn, sunstroke, dehydration or a slew of fungal infections that make hay while the sun shines. It's imperative to be aware of the dos and don'ts to sidestep all these problems. The best way to avoid dehydration is by drinking plenty of water and other liquids, such as tender coconut water and lassi (buttermilk).

Dr Mukesh Batra says, "The other problem endemic in India's hot and humid climate is excessive sweating. This often leads to prickly heat, which is marked by tiny blisters - especially in the folds of the skin and in areas of tight clothing. In such cases, homeopathic remedies can be particularly helpful, since they don't add to the body heat and are a non-toxic way of healing the body. To relieve prickly heat rash, take 4-5 pellets of Natrum Sulphuricum 6X, twice daily. To tackle fungal infections, so commonplace in summer, take the homeopathic Chrysarobic Acid 6C, 4-5 pills, twice daily."

The other tips he says we need to remember are:

- Avoid fried food: Eating excessive fat or fried food leads to lethargy, as it slows down the digestive process. It also affects the skin, making it look unhealthy.

- Reduce tea and coffee intake: Being a diuretic, too much tea and coffee can cause increased urination; this leads to water loss and dryness of skin.

- Don't overeat: Eat light to feel light and healthy.

- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol: Smoking and drinking, including consumption of carbonated or fizzy drinks, desiccate, or parch, your skin. Avoid.

- Skip tight-fitting clothes: Tight, skin-fit clothes hamper circulation, increase sweating and cause discomfort. Loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes will keep you cool all day.

- Maintain good hygiene: Bathe twice daily during summers to get rid of sweat and body odour. Use prickly heat talc.

- Avoid sun exposure: Between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, it's best to stay out of the sun, since its ultraviolet rays are at their peak. Use a sunscreen lotion with SPF (sun protection factor) of 15-30 on exposed skin, half-an-hour before you step out; reapply every 4-6 hours.

"For people particularly prone to heat rash, it's best to take preventive measures during summer. Alter your lifestyle during summers and avoid tanning your skin. Those whose work duties entail travelling long distances may not be able to avoid the sun, heat, humidity and pollution. Heat rash or boils could then plague their bodies. This can be brought under control by using a home-made paste of one tsp sandalwood powder, along with a little camphor and some buttermilk. A few minutes before bath, apply this preparation, preferably using cold water. The heat rash will disappear quickly," says Dr Batra.

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He adds, "Alternately, use another time-tested recipe. To some nutmeg and rosewater, add equal parts of pea flower, sandalwood and coriander powders. Dab this paste on the affected areas, or the entire body, if required. After sometime, simply rinse with cold water. Your body will now feel fresh and refreshed."

Other homeopathic remedies that heal gently during summer are:

- Urtica Urens - soothingly beneficial for summer skin rash that itches and burns.

- Echinacea Angustifolia - handy for heat boils.

- Cantharis - comforting for sunburn.