New Delhi, May 21: There are many ways to take the hot with the cool in an Indian summer. For starters: go green.
Appropriate architectural design and home decor go a long way in keeping the heat away, thus decreasing your dependence on air conditioners and also the electricity bills.
'Strategies mainly include architectural and landscaping tricks such as green roofing, green terraces, and planting more trees in the surrounding area of the house. The idea is to minimize sources of heat and remove built-up heat from inside,' Anumita Roychowdhury, head of the green buildings team at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), told IANS.
'Simple steps such as installing white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect the heat away from the house is a part of keeping cool and saving energy,' she adds.
Watch what you eat: Some simple dietary changes can also help in keeping the heat away, experts say.
'Prefer eating small meals. Juicy fruits should be taken constantly. It is also advised to include leafy salads such as cucumber and lettuce in your diet as it contains a lot of water,' said S.P.S. Bakshi, chief managing director of Baksons Homoepathy.
Green tea or a spoon of onion juice can be powerful anti-oxidants for the skin.
Cover your head when stepping out: For those who have to be out during the day, doctors say covering the head is the first precaution against heat.
'People are advised to cover their heads with a cotton dupatta, scarf, or large handkerchiefs for men, as this would prevent the direct exposure of the head to sun. This is one of the first steps to prevention from summer exhaustion,' Romel Tickoo, senior physician at Max Hospital, told IANS.
Cotton is the suggested fabric as it helps in absorbing sweat and maintaining constant oxygen supply to the skin.
'Motorcyclists should first cover their head with a wet towel and then put on the helmet. This will keep the head cool with a continuous supply of moisture,' added Tickoo.
Drink plenty of fluids: Excessive sweating during summers can deplete salt and mineral levels in the body, which make it important to keep consuming liquids.
'Excessive sweating causes the loss of essential salts such as potassium and sodium. These minerals are required in the proper functioning of the kidney, and even in the blood flow,' said Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine, at the Apollo Hospital.
'Symptoms of heat exhaustion are high body temperature, dry mouth, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, weak and rapid pulse, clammy and pale skin,' he said.
'People should include lemons, amla, water melons in the diet. Drink a glass of lemonade at the end of the day if it is not available during the day,' he said. 'Water intake should be over 8-10 glasses a day'.
(Madhulika Sonkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)