Friday, May 3, 2013

Cheat the heat

If gulping down litres of water is not helping you cope with summer, take this quiz to find out where you are going wrong

    With temperatures soaring to 34 °C and humidity making matters worse, most Mumbaikars are coping either by holing up in air-conditioned rooms or guzzling four litres of water a day. Doctors say the human body is slow in adapting to weather changes, and thus cases of viral fever and throat infections increase during this period. 

    So you already know that to come out on top of the year's hottest phase, you must keep yourself hydrated, eat lighter meals, wear white, light cotton clothes and avoid the noon sun. But do you know enough to be summer-smart? Instead of pulling your sweat-drenched hair in frustration, take this quiz and step out in the sun a little wiser. QUIZ A cold beverage cools your body 
faster than a cup of hot tea. 
A) True B) False 
Heat exhaustion and sun stroke are the same. 
A) True B) False 
By reapplying sunscreen a few times, you can stay outdoors for longer. A) True B) False Throwing open a window in the house is enough to cool the whole place down. A) True B) False Hair that becomes dry and unmanageable due to heat, should be washed every day. A) True B) False ANSWERS 1 B When you drink a hot beverage, you add heat to the body which increases your sweat rate and cools you faster. As the sweat has to evaporate for you to feel cooler, it's ideal if you are wearing light clothing and the atmosphere isn't humid (sweat can't evaporate into saturated air). That said, avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as they are diuretics, and cause water loss. 2 B Heat cramps are the first signs of your body begging for water. Next is heat exhaustion, which is marked by paleness, heavy sweating, fatigue, headache and nausea. This is essentially your body signalling that it is overheated. If ignored, heat stroke follows. Also called sunstroke, this is a dangerous stage when the body can't control its temperature by its natural cooling mechanisms. Apart from the body temperature shooting to as high as 106 °F, other signs of sunstroke are dry skin (no sweating) and loss of consciousness. Without medical attention, this condition can be fatal. 3 A By reapplying sunscreen before the effect of the first layer wears out, you can extend its protection from the UV rays for longer. While the higher your sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor (SPF) the better — 30 being the minimum recommended SPF — reapplying it once in three hours while out is more critical than your lotion's SPF count. A broad spectrum sunscreen is your best bet. 4 B Instead of getting frustrated by sitting near a windless window, make use of the humble cross-ventilation method. A simple method is to place a fan, facing outside, by an open window. This will pull out the room's hot air. At the same time, opening another window in another part of the house will send fresh air in. Better still, hang damp towels by the window so the air rushing in gets a touch of chill. 5 BAvoid regular shampooing of hair during summer as it interferes with the hair's absorption of natural oils, which act as moisturisers. Use pH-balanced, mild or conditioning shampoos for best results. Also, avoid getting chemical treatments for hair like bleaching and straightening 
    during this season.


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